Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

What Holds Us Back? 4 Things Holding Our Curiosity Hostage

We are often told to follow our passion.  Even if we determine our passion, some things hold us back from pursuing our natural sense of curiosity.  Curiosity has been called a sort of mental itch.  There are surprisingly few studies about curiosity because it is difficult to study.  Some people are more naturally curious than others. It can be important to have curiosity hardwired into us because it helps us grow and develop.  There are factors like stress, aging, drugs, genetics, etc. that could impact our level of curiosity.  Outside of medical issues or lack of financial capabilities, I have found four major things that hold people’s curiosity hostage including fear, the way things have always been done, parental/family/peer influence, and technology.

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Entrepreneur Startup Terminology

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Entrepreneurs have created their own vocabulary.  The Wall Street Journal recently posted some important terms that every startup professional should know: Continue reading “Entrepreneur Startup Terminology”

Professors’ Media Choices in Online Classes

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There is limited research regarding the use of social media or other types of media in online courses. In 2013, I surveyed 110 adjunct professors from a Linkedin group to determine if they added media (including social media) to already developed curriculum. Due to the prevalence of online classes, it might help curriculum designers to determine media preferences. This type of study may also demonstrate the flexibility of online courses, the perception of content requirements in online courses, and professors’ best practices.

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Entrepreneurs and Celebrities Use Kickstarter for Funding

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Kickstarter has been a successful crowdfunding option for potential entrepreneurs to garner cash.  However it has not been without some issues.  According to The Wall Street Journal article The Trouble With Kickstarter, “The only thing worse than having to watch your friend’s arty movie is having to pay for it too.” Aside from the problems associated with pestering friends to donate, there have been some successful ventures thanks to this site.  The following list contains some of names of celebrities who have used the site:

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Millennial Student Entitlement Issues

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The word Millennials is used to describe adults born between the years of 1980 and 2000.  They are also known as Generation Y.  Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me explained Millennials tend to be more self-focused and may expect to receive a lot of recognition. Sixty Minutes aired an interesting story titled The Millennials are Coming.  In this show, they explained how this younger generation expects good things and expects them with little effort. I have noticed that this sense of entitlement has carried into the online classroom setting.

Most of my students are very respectful. They follow directions.  They ask questions with the proper tone.  However, there are a few that are more demanding.  Although I have not formally studied the age group of the students who demonstrate issues with entitlement, I have noticed that my older Baby Boomer students seem to demonstrate more respect.

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Facebook Better for Following Blogs than RSS

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Facebook has made it so much easier to follow just about anything.  RSS feeds and Twitter are still an option for many people. However, with Facebook, once someone “likes” a page, it shows up in their feed on their homepage whenever anything from that page is updated.  Unlike Twitter and RSS feeds, on Facebook, it is easier to see pictures and information.

It is simple to create a Facebook page that includes links to blogs like this one.  What I think is great about a Facebook page is that I can incorporate links to this blog, to my other blogs, and any other sites.  It is an all-in-one spot to access information. To see my Facebook page, click here.

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Changing the Way Students Perform Online Research

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Google and other search engines have changed the way people locate information.  The problem is that online students think of Google as a proper tool to use to perform research for assignments.  Google Scholar may provide access to some scholarly research.  However, most online schools prefer that students use the school’s library search feature.  It is important that students consider the reliability of the type of content that is available on traditional websites.

Pew reported that the majority of students are not able to recognize bias in online content.  This has become frustrating for professors because these skills should be taught in first-year college courses.  Turnitin’s white paper titled What’s Wrong with Wikipedia, reported that in over 37 million papers submitted by students, there were 156 million matches to content found from the Internet.  This means that students use sites like Google Books, May Clinic, Yahoo Answers, Wikipedia, etc.  These are unacceptable sources to use for college-level courses.

According to Turnitin’s research, the following problems exist with student’s research behavior:

  • Problem: Students value immediacy over quality – Students use sites like Wikipedia to find quick answers.  Wikipedia may offer some valuable resources at the bottom of their site to support the content. Solution:  These sources are usually available through the school’s library search feature.  Schools’ search engines are quite easy to use. They access some of the best material available for free.  Students can easily mark a box for peer-reviewed studies.  This will ensure that their research contains quality information.
  • Problem:  Students often use cheat sites – Students may find sites that offer to write their papers for a fee.  Most of these papers are captured within Turnitin’s plagiarism detecting software. Therefore when students buy the paper and submit as their own, the software will detect it as plagiarized.  Solution:  The time it takes to find and buy a paper on the Internet could have been used to simply write an original paper.  Nothing is gained from submitted plagiarized work.  Students risk getting expelled.  Most assignments are not that long or difficult.  The point of writing them is to gain knowledge.  Students who attend school just to obtain a piece of paper will not be prepared for the working world.  They will spend money on a degree that will not help them if they have not learned the information.
  • Problem:  Research is not synonymous with search – Students may put a lot of faith in the information found on the Internet.  Just because a site allows people to ask and answer questions, does not mean that the answers are correct. Searching for answers on the Internet does not mean that the answers are based on actual research.  Solution:  Using peer-reviewed sources that are available through the school’s library ensures that the information in the article has been reviewed by the author’s peers.  These studies are actual research.

There are times when assignments allow for students to use websites like Apple.com, or other corporate or news sites.  If this is allowed by the instructor, students must be able to recognize if the site is highly regarded. An example might be The New York Times.  If students are in doubt, they should direct questions to their instructor for guidance.

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Advantages of Peer Interaction in Online Learning

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One of the most important ways students learn in online courses is through peer-to-peer interaction.  In my experience with traditional classrooms, there were far more lectures and much student involvement.  The professors spoke “at us” in traditional courses. In online courses, there is more of a group discussion. Students receive the professor’s perspective as well as viewpoints from every student in the course.  In my opinion, this makes for a much more interesting and interactive classroom.

Not all students are fans of lecture-based learning.  MOOCs may experience high dropout rates due to their lecture-based format. According to the article MOOCs: Will Online Courses Help More Students Stay in School, “Critics of MOOCs are quick to point out their low completion rates (fewer than 7% of students complete the courses on average). They also note that the courses take the ineffective lecture format and make it the primary mode of learning.”

The types of online courses I have taught rely very little, if at all, on lectures.  The courses include more peer interaction and written assignments. The peer interaction revolves around discussion questions.  There are usually at least two discussion topics posted each week.  Students must respond to the initial question and respond to their peers’ postings as well.  This requires students to address the question, discover other students’ perspectives, and develop critical thinking skills.

Students’ responses to their peers must include substantive comments and well-constructed follow-up questions.  These questions often develop the conversation and create a dialogue.  Every student can see these discussions.  Every student can interject their comments.  It creates a pool of information that would not be provided to students in a lecture hall.  It allows for much more depth to the exploration of the topic.

In a traditional course, the professor may give their insight and opinions about a topic.  In an online course, this is possible as well. What is different is the amount of interaction required by the students.  Granted, things may have changed since I took traditional courses in the 80’s.  However, based on what I read and what I hear from my students, traditional college courses have not changed that much.  I believe that is why there is such an interest in MOOCs.  They add a new dimension that traditional courses have lacked.  However, MOOCs may not provide the peer interaction is the same way that regular online classes can.  The reason for this is due to the number of students in class.  MOOCs are massive.  Most online courses I teach include fewer than 20 students. When there are too many students, the discussions become overwhelming and no one takes the time to read all of the postings.

The best part of peer interaction is that students can learn from everyone’s experiences. Many online students have had decades of experience. This provides a wealth of knowledge that may be added to the professor’s perspective.  This allows everyone, including the professor, to garner important insight.

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Hiring Graduates Based on Personality Skills

shutterstock_36446959HR professionals within organizations have given personality assessments to potential employees for many years. I was asked to take a personality assessment for a pharmaceutical sales job in 1987.  The changes I have noticed since that time include the type and frequency of personality tests given.  What also may be trending is the fact that leaders of schools have become more interested in personality assessments. In the Wall Street Journal article Business Schools Know How You Think, but How Do You Feel, author Melissa Korn explained, “Prospective MBA students need to shine by showing emotional traits like empathy, motivation, resilience, and dozens of others.”  Schools may be interested in these traits because organizations value these traits.  Korn also explained, “Measuring EQ-or emotional intelligence quotient-is the latest attempt by business schools to identify future stars.”

I find this trend to be particularly interesting because I teach business, I am a qualified Myers Briggs instructor, a certified EQ-i instructor, and I wrote my dissertation on the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance.  I have also witnessed that online schools have placed more importance on personality assessments. Many of my first-year students must take a Jung-like personality test.  Many of my undergraduate and graduate business students have to assess their EQ.

I think it is important for these personality preference and emotional intelligence issues to be addressed in online courses.  Some of the things that may hurt a graduate’s chance of obtaining is job include having poor self-assessment skills, poor interpersonal skills, and a lack of concern for how they are perceived by others.

When I was in pharmaceutical sales, they rated us each year on our concern for impact.  It was such an important part of what they believed made us successful in the field, that there were consequences to poor judgment and rude behavior.  In the book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, there is a chapter regarding concern for impact, as well as one for Myers Briggs MBTI, Emotional Intelligence, DISC, and many other personality assessments that may help young adults in the workplace. One of the universities for which I teach requires students to read this book in a foresight course.

It is important for online students to learn about these assessments because employers use them.  Some personality traits stay with us throughout our lives.  The MBTI is an example of an assessment that determines preferences that may not change.  This assessment may be helpful to students who are not sure about career paths.  Other assessments like the EQ-i determine emotional intelligence levels.  The good news about emotional intelligence is that it may be improved. Marcia Hughes has written several books about how to improve EQ in the workplace.  The savvy online students will work on developing their EQ and understanding personality preferences before they graduate.  By being proactive, students may have a better chance of being successful in a career that matches their personality preferences.

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Use of Media and Copyright Issues in Online Courses

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Some students like to present papers with a bit of pizzazz. Many may add pictures or charts they have found on the Internet.  Unfortunately many of the things they try to incorporate into their work may create a copyright violation.  The good news is that there are sites where students can find media to share that is not protected.

The Creative Commons site is a good place to go to find content. According to their site, “If you’re looking for content that you can freely and legally use, there is a giant pool of CC-licensed creativity available to you. There are hundreds of millions of works — from songs and videos to scientific and academic material — available to the public for free and legal use under the terms of our copyright licenses, with more being contributed every day.”

Some famous sites like Google, Flickr, and Wikipedia use Creative Commons to access media. Wikipedia’s Public Domain Image Resources page also provides some great links to media that is not copyright-protected.  This site provides general as well as government resources.

Some students incorporate images they have found using the insert clipart function in Word. According to the Microsoft site, “The Clip Art and Media gallery provides a compilation of artwork. See the use terms for the description of permitted uses. If those terms do not meet your needs, our Clip Art partners at Office Online provide a variety of images you can license directly. Sample Art may be used for personal use only. You may not sell, lease, or distribute Sample Art, or any materials you create that use Sample images, for any commercial purposes.”

If students submit a Word document that has clip art obtained from Word, they may have questions about how to cite it in APA.  According to Owl Purdue’s site it is, “unnecessary to provide citation on a document presented via the Microsoft program for stock images that a specific to that software package.”

It may be difficult to find free clip art simply by searching for it on Google. Many sites that come up offer some free clip art that is usually not that great.  The better clip art usually requires a fee.  I am often contacted by people about the clipart used for my online education blog.  I have used a couple of sources that charge a fee, including Shutterstock and iStockPhoto.  The really good pictures like these usually require a fee.

When students insert pictures that are copyright protected, professors should explain this to them.  There are many students who assume they can copy and paste just about anything from the Internet into their assignments. Students may benefit from reading:  How to Avoid Copyright Infringement and Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images.

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The PayPal Mafia: What is a Serial Entrepreneur?

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The PayPal Mafia refers to a group of individuals who created multiple companies that created a frenzy of growth in the Silicon Valley.  The entrepreneurs created PayPal before they set out to develop other multiple successful technology-based companies.  These men are serial entrepreneurs or individuals who, “continuously come up with new ideas and starts new businesses. As opposed to a typical entrepreneur, who will often come up with an idea, start the company, and then see it through and play an important role in the day to day functioning of the new company, a serial entrepreneur will often come up with the idea and get things started, but then give responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture.”

To learn more about some of the individuals associated with the PayPal Mafia check out the following members and how their initial success led to other serial successes:

For a more complete list of the PayPal Mafia members and their accomplishments, click here.

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Creative Disruption or Destruction?

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Leaders often have to deal with the effects of creative disruption. According to CreativeDisruption.net, “Creative disruption intentionally brings the challenge or change right to the organization to force it to change and adapt in advance of a random, unpredictable challenge that will eventually reach the organization.” With the creation of innovation, there may be fallout in terms of lost jobs.  However, with loss, there may also be creation of new jobs.  A computer may replace work that was done manually.  At the same time, someone must run the computer.

Creative disruption may be necessary in order to remain competitive. If the competition embraces innovation, they may gain a foothold in the market.  The key is being able to recognize the type of innovation that will allow companies to grow.

Some ideas have actually led to the demise of companies.  An example is the invention of digital images and its impact on Kodak.  The invention of digital images occurred in a lab at Kodak.  This invention not only changed the industry but caused the eventual demise of the company.  Kodak tried to embrace changes, but lacked foresight.   Companies like Kodak may need to embrace new business models when faced with innovative changes.

According to the article Big Data and the Creative Destruction of Today’s Business Model, having a grasp on the importance of managing and understanding data is critical.  “Companies are increasingly experimenting with and implementing ways to capture big data’s potential for both short- and long-term advantage. The crucial success factors are to first think of data as an asset—as the foundation upon which to build propositions and business models—and then to diligently build out the capabilities necessary to capitalize on big data’s potential. And perhaps most importantly, embrace the creative destruction of today’s business models.”

Uber is Uber Cool

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Uber is an app (iPhone and Android) that allows you to request a black Towncar or SUV rather than a typical cab in the U.S. and Canada.  When you use the app, it finds your location and allows you to order an “Uber”.  You can see all of the black cars in your area on a map.  You can simply pick the closest driver and the system will send you an alert on your cellphone to let you know the car is on its way.  The service alert includes your driver’s name and his cell phone.  You can even watch the vehicle coming toward your location on the map.

I spoke to a frequent user of Uber who told me that it normally takes about 5-10 minutes for the vehicle to arrive.  The driver opens the car door for you.  They usually have bottles of water, candy, gum, and other handy items. The price is a little more than a standard cab.  However, she felt that the few dollar difference was well worth it.

When you reach your final destination, you do not have to worry about having cash, tipping, or even dealing with negotiations.  Since your information is stored in the app, the receipt is simply sent to your email. They ask you to rate the drivers so that they can be sure they have excellent service.  I was told that drivers need to maintain a 4.7 out of 5 star rating in order to continue driving for the company.

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How to Use iPhone to Connect Computer to the Internet

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If you are like me, you may want to use your laptop when you travel.  One way to gain access to the Internet is by using an iPhone’s Personal Hotspot feature.  The cellular data connection on the phone will allow you to connect your laptop or desktop to the Internet.

To use this feature, go to the settings on the iPhone (3GS version or later) and chose general and then choose Personal Hotspot. Turn the Personal Hotspot to the “on” position.  The Wi-Fi password will be listed on the iPhone under the Personal Hotspot area next to Wi-Fi password.  The wireless connection should now be listed as a choice on the laptop or desktop computer.  To connect to the iPhone, go to the Internet Access area on the computer and select the iPhone connection option. Then enter that password listed on the iPhone when requested.

When the personal hotspot is turned on it may incur charges so it is important to turn it off when not using it for temporary access.  The Apple support website states that the Wi-Fi hotspot will turn off when no devices are detected, but I was told by a Verizon employee that there may be charges.  I was also told that the phone could not be used when in personal hotspot mode.

According to the Apple Support site, “While devices are connected to Personal Hotspot, the status bar will be blue and will indicate the number of connected users.  The maximum number of supported connections may vary depending on your carrier or iPhone model.”

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Are QR Codes Successful?

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I am currently reviewing a text about marketing.  Schools hire me to do this on occasion.  One thing that disappointed me was there was nothing in it about QR codes and some of the other newest marketing techniques. QR codes have been around for a while. If you have not noticed them, they are the little barcode-looking square that appears on newspapers billboards, flyers, and even cars.

While QR codes offer some great marketing opportunities, they have not been as successful as other techniques.  In the article QR Codes are Dead! Long Live QR Codes, the author stated, “One of the most popular Tumblr blogs of 2012 is Pictures of People Scanning QR Codes. If you click through to the site you will see that it is empty. The joke here? No one scans QR codes (short for Quick Response code). It is obvious that QR codes have a bad rep and haven’t gained much traction on the consumer end of the equation.”

QR codes have been utilized well by some companies.  I am currently reading the book Neuromarketology by Brian Fabiano.  He is a marketing guru who was wise enough to put a QR code at the end of each of his chapters with the note, “scan to learn more!” Other examples of successful QR code use include:

For more information about how to use QR codes, check out the following articles:

Entrepreneurs Replacing People with Tablets

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One of the hardest parts of getting a new business off of the ground is to have enough funding.  Many entrepreneurs use family members as personnel in order to avoid paying wages.  It may be quite expensive to hire people to take orders or process requests.  The Wall Street Journal article Can the Tablet Please Take Your Order Now included some examples of how some small businesses have begun to use tablets instead of people in the customer-ordering process.

If customers can order through a digital device, it may not only be cheaper but faster.  There are app-building tools that entrepreneurs can use to create a way for customers to input their orders.  Some companies have used QR codes to speed up the order process. Using apps is another logical alternative. With talk of increasing the minimum wage, some small businesses are looking for ways to remain profitable.  If tablets become a popular way to order, it may impact many minimum-wage workers.  “In all, one-third of low-wage workers are employed by businesses with fewer than 100 employees, according to the National employment Law Project, an organized-labor-backed advocacy group for low-wage workers.”

Not only may entrepreneurs experience some cost savings by utilizing tablets and apps, there may be some other entrepreneurial opportunities for the app designers.  According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Some entrepreneurs see a promising market in selling technologies to small businesses that might help them to streamline operations.”  While this may cost some minimum wage-earners jobs, it may also be opportunities to train them for higher-skilled positions.

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Linkedin Endorsements Poorly Utilized

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Linkedin has provided an opportunity for networkers to endorse the skills of people with whom they are connected.  This was meant to be a time saver for people who normally wrote full recommendations. The idea had promise.  However, it is not being utilized well.  When users sign onto their Linkedin profile, they are given a list of people in their network and asked if they want to endorse them for a particular skill. There is the option of being able to endorse all of the people that pop up as choices.  The problem is, many people are doing that.  People may receive many endorsements from people who have not witnessed some of the skills they have endorsed.  At that point, the Linkedin endorsements become meaningless.

It is far too easy to choose the option of endorsing people as it is currently configured.  If the point was to make recommendations easier, it is understandable that there should be some way to do that.  However, if everyone is endorsing everyone for everything, there is no value to the endorsement.

To find out more about Linkedin’s Endorsements check out the following articles

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Have You Been Retargeted?

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If you have ever shopped online for an item and then later noticed an ad for that exact item on another page, you have been retargeted.  It may cause some problems for people who are trying to surprise others with something special. Consider the scenario of the man who has searched for engagement rings. If his future fiancé should suddenly have ads for rings show up all over their shared computer screen, the jig may be up!

To see what it is like to be retargeted, try going to the site:  GreatCall.  Once you are on that site, you will notice they sell a phone service.  You might then decide to go to a site like Dictionary.com.  Once you get to the dictionary site, you might notice that suddenly there is an ad for GreatCall.

Now take a look at the top right corner of that ad. There is a little sideways triangle that you can click that explains AdSense.  “The AdChoices symbol appears on web pages and ads to let you know when information about your interests or demographics may have been collected or used to show you ads – what’s known as interest-based advertising. You can opt out of interest-based ads, as well interest-based advertising from other participating companies by visiting the aboutads.info choices page.” Click on the following link to find out how to manage your ad preferences.

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Successful Virtual Teams

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Teams may not necessarily occupy the same building or location.  This may create some unique challenges.  When I trained teams within organizations to be effective, we dealt with personality preferences.  Team members would take the Myers Briggs MBTI to determine their type.  Team members were more effective if they understood why people acted the way they did.

In virtual teams, it is still critical to understand people’s preferences.  However, there are some unique challenges.  Leaders may deal with loosely described job descriptions.  Members of a team may share similar roles.  If team members are in other countries, cultural differences may impact the speed at which decisions may be made.

Trust and communication are still critical.  However, influence may become affected.  According to the Forbes article The Four Keys to Success within Virtual Teams, “The upshot of all this is that managers with geographically scattered teams need a much broader skill set than those with traditional, co-located teams. More than that, they need the ability to switch between skill sets, based on the diversity of their team members and the distance between them. Welcome to a new virtual world of business.”

According to Virtual Team Builders, “80% of corporate managers work virtually at least part of the time; 40% of virtual team members believe their groups are underperforming; 1 in 3 executives agree that teams are poorly managed; 56% of poorly managed virtual teams experience misunderstandings as a result of cultural and language differences; and 70% of attendees multitask during meetings.”

For more information about virtual teams, check out the following articles:

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Top Business and Career Trends for 2013

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Potential entrepreneurs often look for the next big idea.  With changing technology, it is important to have foresight.  It is not always necessary to be the first company to offer a product or idea.  Facebook is an excellent example of this. Sometimes an idea can be improved upon or tweaked.

Once an entrepreneur comes up with an idea, they must create a feasibility study.  After creating a viable plan, there are some unique ways entrepreneurs may obtain financing.  Crowdfunding and microlending are just one of the latest trends.  Check out the Top 7 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Obtain Funding.

Some experts have tried to predict the next big areas for innovation. There are even sites like Trendhunter that offer trend reports to help with predictions. For those interested in getting ahead of the game, check out some of the top articles on business and career trends for 2013:

  1. Top 4 Career Trends for 2013
  2. Consumer Trends for 2013
  3. Top HR Trends for 2013
  4. 2013 Trend Customers Will Be In Your Face
  5. Mobile Payments Trends for 2013
  6. Mobile Trends 2013
  7. 2013 Trends Affecting Businesses
  8. Biggest Trends in Business 2013
  9. Lean Start-Ups and Connected Economy Trends 2013
  10. 5 Business Trends to Ignore in 2013

The last article is an interesting one, because sometimes people look at trends as positive things.  That may not always be true.  An important point was made in that article.  Bringing value to customers should be a primary goal.

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Create Infographics Easily with Easel.ly

Infographics can add some flare to an article. It may be a challenge to create one without the ability to navigate and comprehend complicated software.  That is why Easel.ly is such a helpful program.  In Edudemic’s article 10 Fun Tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographics, Easel.ly is listed as one tool that does not require a great deal of skill.

It is simple to take a template and simply add and change things.  For example, the original template, looked something like this:

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While, this may be graphically appealing, it may take quite a bit of time to change something with this much detail.  If less information is required, it is simple to change a few things here and there.  Here is an example:

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It may be costly and/or difficult to find just the right visual for an article. This site may be a great source of choices that can be easily tweaked to fit the topic at hand. The site offers quite a few templates and is growing daily.

To find out more, watch the following video:

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Reverse Image Search with Google

There is a unique way to look for meanings behind pictures on the Internet.  By simply uploading an image into Images.google.com, the search engine can provide a list of places where that image was obtained.  There are several other ways to find out more about images if you don’t want to upload the file.  You can drag and drop an image into the search box, you can copy and paste the URL of an image and then click the camera icon on the Google images search line, or you can download the Chrome or Firefox extension and right-click an image to search for that image.

Think about going on a vacation, taking a picture and then uploading that image to find out more about the image.  That is one of the things that this site claims can be accomplished. When I put in my Gravitar image, it worked well. However, I uploaded several vacation pictures to see what it would display.  It did not give accurate information.

This has some interesting possibilities.  Check out the following video for more information about searching images with reverse image search from Google:

How Businesses can Maximize Online Presence

While business leaders may constantly hear they need to maximize their online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, there may be more that they could do to succeed.  Just having a Facebook or Twitter page is not enough. These sites need to be managed and constantly promoted.

Technology entrepreneur Alex Zhardanovsky was recently interviewed by Fox News about ways businesses can improve their online presence. He explained that Facebook can be used like a newsletter.  He stated, “The nice thing about Facebook is that if you spend money building a Facebook page, you have an audience that does not go away.” This gives businesses an advantage of the old style of having people click on a link and then closing a page where they may never return again.

Facebook allows for more of a conversation where businesses can reach customers on a consistent basis.  The best part is it is a free way to build a relationship with people that may later become paying customers. Facebook Fan pages are a very important thing for business to create.  Businesses can post interesting content so that people will want to interact on that page.  Facebook also allows companies to target specific demographics.

Zhardanovsky recommends using a company called AlphaBoost to help companies build better advertising.  This site allows potential advertisers see how the competition’s ads are performing.  They can see the likes, clicks and views of the competition’s ad. The thought process is that if the business is similar, they will receive a similar reaction to a comparable ad.  He explained that once companies get the “likes” from posting a similar ad, then that is when they can differentiate their business from the competition.

To hear more tips about Twitter and other social media platforms, check out the video interview by clicking here:  Small Biz Tips from Top Tech Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurs Finding Unique Ways to Create Business Plans

Entrepreneurs are faced with many challenges when creating a new business.  One of those challenges is to create a feasibility study and business plan.  Entrepreneur.com had a very interesting article about how businesses could utilize some unique ways to help create a business plan.  In the article Should You Create Your Business Plan on Pinterest, author Tim Berry created a sample Pinterest business plan based on a bicycle shop business.  He used charts created by LivePlan.

Berry admits, “The images don’t really tie together, but if this were an actual business plan, they would.”  The point is to show that a plan could be created with the help of a site like Pinterest. He explained, “The complete plan should be a collection of interrelated modules that lay out the goals of the business, the steps to achieve those goals, specific tasks and responsibilities, important milestones and dates, and basic metrics, including projected sales, costs, expenses, profits and cash flow. The business plan’s function is to help entrepreneurs manage better, optimize resources and steer the business into the future. Its form is supposed to follow function, so if you’re looking for a collection of visual images that summarize the plan, Pinterest is a perfectly reasonable platform to use.”

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Texting Offers Latest Marketing Opportunity

As mobile phones have taken over the way people communicate, it is a natural progression for texting to become a marketing opportunity.  In the Wall Street Journal article Teen Stores Try Texts as Gr8 Nu Way to Reach Out, author Christina Binkley explained, “Like many parents who have turned to texting to reach their teens, some youth-oriented fashion brands like Charlotte Russe, Claire’s Boutique and Vans are finding that young people are most accessible by text.”

Texting now can include more rich content, pictures and video.  Marketers can send shopping passes, discounts, and offers.  Rather than merely being a vehicle for chat, texting now offers a way to get customers to opt in and avoid illegal lists or spam.  Customers can selectively pick who they would like to receive offers from, which leads to a higher chance of the sales message being received.  The article stated, “People are five times more likely to open a text than an email.  Five billion people text on mobile phones, while about two billion people use the Internet.”

This new form of communication has increased the speed of receiving offers and acting upon them.  There is immediacy due to the ability to send messages that state things like “get 10% off if purchased within the next 3 hours.”

One of the hardest parts is to get people to opt in to receive the texts.  Retails often post signs to ask customers to opt in by texting short codes.  For more information, check out Top Links Explaining SMS and Short Codes.

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The Ethics of Google

“Don’t Be Evil” is Google’s informal corporate slogan. The founders of Google claimed that this motto explained their culture that “prohibited conflicts of interest, and required objectivity and an absence of bias.” According to Google’s code of conduct page this slogan is, “about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.”

Can Google do business in an ethical manner if they allow for people to search for unethical content? Laws may decide what is legal, but who decides what is unethical or evil?

Every day someone searches for how to do something illegal and/or unethical through utilizing Google’s search engine. How much content should Google censor?  The following articles address Google censorship issues:

U.S. News reported, “The company is based in the United States, and thus must comply with U.S. laws. As a part of its policy, Google already censors things like child pornography, and complies with copyright infringement requests (a heavy volume of which come from videos uploaded on YouTube). Yet because services such as YouTube and Blogger are popular around the world, the company must decide to what extent it will remove content deemed illegal or offensive to foreign governments.”

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Marketers Use Retina-Tracking and Facial-Scanning Devices

The latest technological advances have allowed for marketers to perform experiments that used to be the things only considered in science fiction.   Shoppers may soon have their retinas and facial expressions scanned to determine their product preferences.  Although these scans are not available on the grocery store shelf, they have been used in product research.

The Wall Street Journal reported, “Kimberly-Clark’s researchers used computer screens outfitted with retina-tracking cameras when testing the newest packaging for its Viva paper towels in 2009. Their goal was to find which designs got noticed in the first 10 seconds a shopper looked at a shelf—a crucial window when products are recognized and placed in the shopping cart. They also wanted to know if the preferences held up on different count packages, from single rolls to multipacks.”

Researchers have found that they may obtain more accurate data this way than through the use of traditional surveys.  The retina-tracking devices are useful because the human eye can detect information very quickly.  It’s not just our eyes that can give marketers important information.  Some companies have used brain scans to determine product preferences.  Now with facial recognition software, even more customer data can be compiled as companies can “track involuntary facial expressions to gauge true emotional reaction.”

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10 Top Links to Explain Social CRM

Organizations use technology to keep track of customers’ information.  The hope is to build relationships with current and potential customers.  This is referred to as customer relationship management or CRM.  Social media has changed the way companies handle customer relationships.  The following is a compilation of some of the top sources that I have found regarding how social media has impacted CRM:

  1. How Social Media CRM Affects ROI
  2. Don’t Cold Call – Social Call
  3. Facebook is the Future of CRM
  4. Search Engine Marketing:  Effects on CRM and Online Exposure
  5. How Social Media is Changing CRM
  6. Connection Between Social Networks and Cloud Computing
  7. The Impact of Social Media on CRM
  8. Social Network Management Enhances Customer Relationship
  9. How QR Codes Affect Cloud CRM
  10. Empirical Study of Social Network Effects on CRM

As social networking changes and grows, organizations must keep up with those changes in order to remain competitive.  The company that does not create a Facebook page or is not on Twitter, may lose out to companies that have taken advantage of these sites.  There are unique ways to utilize these social networks.  British Airways uses online surveys for customer satisfaction.  Burberry launched a fragrance with Facebook, Salesforce.com and Twitter.

To find out more about social networking and CRM, check out a video by Salesforce.com titled:   What is Social CRM.  Paul Greenberg defines Social CRM as, “a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, process, and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.  Social CRM is the company’s response to customers’ ownership of the conversation.”

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LinkedIn vs. Facebook IPO Success

LinkedIn’s recent IPO performance appears to have crushed the perception of big named company IPOs from Facebook, Yelp, Zynga, Groupon and Pandora. Based on their recent closing price, LinkedIn is up 141%. According to BusinessInsider Linkedin is, “the best-performing IPO this year by a huge margin. The next closest competitor, Bankrate, is up about 28 percent from its initial public offering.”

Timing may have been a factor for LinkedIn’s success. They have also seen consistent growth in unique visitors. Investors waiting for highly anticipated IPOs like Facebook may have helped increase the success of LinkedIn as well.

Although Facebook has had a lot of negative press regarding its IPO, CBS news reported that Facebook’s IPO was actually a success. CBS explained, “LinkedIn (LNKD) shares popped from the start in the professional networking company’s 2011 IPO and more than doubled in the first few days.”  Investment bankers made a bundle. This led people to think Facebook had been a flop. However, CBS author Allan Roth explained, “my definition of a successful launch of a new publicly traded stock doesn’t rest on how much money the investment bankers make. It rests on how close the offering price is to where the stock actually trades. The fact that Facebook shares closed at nearly their offering price tells me that that investors thought it was fairly priced. That’s pretty amazing, in my view, given all the hype over Facebook.”

Colin Lokey from SeekingAlpha explained that when comparing Facebook to Linkedin, fundamentals show that Linkedin is overvalued. Lokey warned, “Investors should of course, keep in mind that the fact that LinkedIn is far too expensive doesn’t mean Facebook is fairly valued at half of LinkedIn’s price.”  Prices have been affected by the recent Facebook IPO. Yahoo’s Finance writer Jeff Macke did not share Lokey’s opinion on pricing when he stated, “Linkedin stock has been dragged down over the last few weeks by the undercurrent of the Facebook Titanic.” He sees LinkedIn as a “screaming buy”.

Only time will tell how well LinkedIn and Facebook will perform. BizJournals recently quoted Linkedin’s CFO Steve Sordello about the importance of a company’s IPO results. “”An IPO is a one-time event, and what really matters is the long term. If it rains on your wedding day, you’re going to remember it rained but it’s not going to influence the marriage.”

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Self-Publishing with CreateSpace

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am interested in self-publishing a book.  Can you tell me about your experience with self-publishing and things you have done to market your books?

That is a good question and one that I often receive.  Check out my previous posting:  How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book.  I used Createspace for self-publishing.  I had a great experience with them. They are affiliated with Amazon.  The site offers different options based on authors’ needs.  Some of those options included:

  • Do-it-yourself tools to design interiors and covers
  • Comprehensive design and editing
  • Expanded distribution options

I found that the company was very responsive to my questions.  They took my design ideas and gave me a couple of covers to choose from based on my input.

Createspace is not limited to book publishing. They also work with musicians and filmmakers.

Once your book is published, and available on Amazon, you will then have the ability to create an Amazon author page.  That author page can incorporate links from your blog. Authors also have the option of making their books available on Amazon’s Europe-based site.

There are plenty of books that can help increase your sales on Amazon’s site.  One book that I thought was pretty useful was: Aiming at Amazon.

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What You Should Know About Push Notifications

Anyone who has installed iPad or iPhone apps has probably seen the notification: “Would Like to Send You Push Notifications” (with the options of don’t allow or OK).  IpadAcademy.com explains, “Push notifications are a way for an app to send information to your iPad or iPhone even when you aren’t using the app.”  If you’ve noticed the number of email listed on your email icon, that is there due to a push notification.  That notification reminds you that you have mail without making you actually open up the application.

IOS (Apple’s system) is not the only one that utilizes push notifications.  Android and Windows smartphones also use them.  Check out:  Not all Push Created Equal.

Apple’s IOS system provides 3 types of push notifications.  To manage these notifications for an iPad or iPhone, you “Go to Settings > Notifications to choose the apps you want to receive notifications from. You can also select what form you’d like the notice to take – sound, badge, alert or banner, depending on the options the app includes.”  For more help, check out:  IOS:  Understanding Push Notifications.

Some push notifications may be very useful.  However, TheNextWeb explained push notifications need to be smarter.  Having the ability to adjust how they work may need to be adjusted.  Lifehacker explained that push notifications may not be the best thing.  In the article You Should Forget About Push Notifications for Your Email, author Adam Pash stated, “the vibrating pulse in your pocket indicating the arrival of a new email; the unpredictable “ding” from your desktop’s email notification; these things are killing your focus and destroying your ability to work to your capacity.”

Push notifications are an effective marketing tool. Check out the following video explaining why:

MobileMarketer warned that apps need to be pushy but not too pushy to be effective. “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL is not an effective strategy in any marketing channel. An effective push notification strategy should maximize the likelihood of message relevance and a beneficial value exchange between brand and customer.”

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Entrepreneurs: Crowdfunding Options from Fundable

Crowdfunding is the latest buzz word in entrepreneurial lending. Fundable is a new company that offers “crowdfunding for startup companies”.  Crowdfunding occurs when people network through the internet to raise money to support other people’s ideas or interests. Fundable’s site allows entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding activities.  Fundable’s site states, “Startups create a funding profile that provides an overview of their company, their fundraising goals, and the rewards they are willing to provide potential backers. Thereafter, they reach out to their personal networks as well as the broader Fundable community to enlist their support.”

Backers may pledge money and/or offer assistance.  Fundable mixes Kickstarter-style and equity-based crowdfunding.  Fundable shares similarities to Kickstarter, in that the process involves all-or-nothing funding.  Goals must be met in order to receive the funds and there is no limit to the amount of money that may be raised. Scribd.com explained that there are differences between Fundable and Kickstarter.  “Fundable will seek to fund for-profit companies, while Kickstarter is all about creative projects, like literature, movies and the like.”

With the recent push for Obama’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, Fundable may be able to take advantage of the crowdfunding law to solicit funds online from unaccredited investors.  However, Mashable explained, “Crowdfunding legislation is so new that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hasn’t set rules for it and Fundable needs to be approved by the SEC as a broker/dealer before it can handle investments. In the meantime, the company is focusing on offering rewards-based deals — which makes it look, for the time being, like a less-populated version of Kickstarter.”

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Facebook IPO Stock Market Performance

Facebook’s recent IPO demonstrated how difficult it may be to determine when to purchase a newly released company’s stock.  Companies like e-Bay, Yahoo!, and Linkedin had impressive launches. Facebook has not shown the same first-day stock market gain.

The first-day results may not give a good indication of the strength of the stock.  The company may see an increase in stock price due to Facebook’s advertising and marketing appeal.  The company recently acquired Tagtile.  Due to this acquisition, Facebook’s success may be improved through e-commerce.

Even if Facebook opened without a pop, Mark Zuckerberg became very wealthy with the initial offering.  Although it may surprise some that Zuckerberg does not own the most shares of Facebook,  Zuckerberg is now one of a select group of famous entrepreneurs who made it big before turning 35.

While some may be eager to cash in on the success of Facebook, check out:  Some things to take into consideration before buying shares of an IPO.

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Facebook Advertising Appeal

When a company like Facebook goes IPO, there is a lot of discussion about future potential for income.  One area where Facebook may increase revenue is through advertising.  Facebook took a big hit this week when GM killed a $10 million advertising campaign deal. GM claimed that Facebook ads were ineffective.  DailyFinance.com reported, “Click-through rates are much lower on Facebook than they are on the internet generally, or on Google (Facebook: 0.051%, Google: 0.4%, Average: 0.1%)”

One way for an ad to be effective is for it to reach the target audience.  Understanding a company’s target demographic is important.  The following chart demonstrates the age of Facebook users:

According to Statista, “This statistic shows the age distribution of Facebook users in the United States as of April 2012. During that period of time, the majority of local Facebook users were between 18 and 24 years old. Furthermore, the most popular Facebook activities of U.S. users were posting on walls and checking the internal newsfeed.”

According to Facebook’s advertising Q&A area, there are some limitations regarding how advertisers may reach a specific demographic.  Other than age and birthday-specific advertising, Facebook targets based on location, interest, education and connection advertising.  This differs from Google that allows targeting by interest, keywords, remarketing, location and demographics.

BusinessInsider explained the difference between advertising on Facebook vs. Google in terms of reach and revenue.  “Total reach for Facebook is 51% of all internet users.  Total reach for Google is 90% of all internet users.  First quarter revenue for Facebook is $1.06 billion, down 6.5 percent year on year and down 32 percent sequentially.  First quarter revenue for Google is $2.09 billion, up 1 percent year on year and up 0.7 percent sequentially.”

Facebook is hoping to use friendships to sell products and brands.  Check out the following video to find out more about this and the importance of geofencing.  According to Amos Content Group, “A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a real area as in within a block of a restaurant. Marketers can use this location-based service to target a passersby who has opted in to send deals or information to smartphones.”  Facebook’s friendship-based approach could influence geofencing.

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Using Giant QR Codes on Cars to Promote Business

QR codes may offer sales people a new way to advertise.  Real estate agents are known to put company and contact information on cars as a form of advertisement.  Agents have even begun using QR codes on the “for sale” signs. Interested buyers can scan information about the home instantaneously into his or her cell phone.

Now that QR codes are on just about everything, why not make them into a magnetic attachment for an automobile?  Chevy has already used QR codes on automobiles to promote car sales. “The vehicles are currently undergoing Southern California road testing, so the displayed QR codes will allow consumers to get a closer look at this vehicle even before it is available for sale.”

How big can a QR code be?  Check out the 10,000 square foot QR code made that can be viewed from 2 miles up in the sky.

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Facebook: Top Articles on IPO, Zuckerberg and More

Who owns more Facebook shares than Zuckerberg?  With the impending Facebook IPO, there is a lot of news about the value of the company.  The IPO is expected to come in close to $100 billion, with a price per share ranging from $28-35.  Should that be the case, the follow chart, explains how much Zuckerberg and other investors’ share of the pot will be worth:

The following contains some of the top links for researching information on Facebook:

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Value of Top Companies in 2012

 

Brain Implants: Is the Matrix Becoming Reality?

Intelligence has been defined by many, yet completely understood by few.  In Jeff Hawkin’s book On Intelligence, he explained that the way computers process information is not the same way a brain may process information.  This led to his life-long desire to better understand what he referred to as real intelligence.  He explained that human intelligence is far different from artificial intelligence.

The transfer of data from machine to man is not as easy as movies have led the public to believe. In the Matrix, megabytes of data were simply uploaded into the human brain.  This data then allowed for increased knowledge and abilities. In the past, this was just fun science fiction.

However, now neural implants linking our brains to machines have become a reality. In a study published in the Journal of Neural Engineering, microchips were inserted into rats’ brains with wires threaded to their hippocampus. This has been a major study in the area of artificial working memory.

Samsung has also been working on developing a technology that strategically implants electrodes into the human brain called Implantable Medical Devices (IMDs). IMDs could monitor a person’s psychological and pathological state. It may even be able to notify emergency personnel if necessary.

Researchers are gaining new insight as to how the brain processes language through the use of a new technology that translates brain activity into words. The Guardian reported that “devices could transform the lives of thousands of people who lose the ability to speak as a result of a stroke or other medical conditions.”

While humans have used their brains to control prosthetic robotic arms, new technology used on monkeys has focused on gaining even more dexterity down to the finer movements at the level of fingers.  Scientists hope that brain implants can eventually be of great help to people with paralysis. The Daily News reported that recent studies showed that monkeys with electrodes implanted in their brains and arms were able to grasp and move the ball despite having had their hand anaesthetised.

While science may not be at the Matrix level yet, there have been strides made in research.  Hawkins predicted in his 2004 book, that this decade could be the time that truly intelligent devices/machines are created that may make an important difference for mankind.

Samsung thinks up mind-reading brain implant(news.cnet.com)

Today’s Organizations Embracing Virtual Business

Traditional brick and mortar businesses may become a thing of the past.  Today’s modern workplace has embraced the virtual environment.  In Managing Innovation by Tidd and Bessant (2009), the authors explained, “virtual organizations are increasingly a feature of the business landscape.”  In the article Virtual Organizations, the author noted, “The ultimate goal of the virtual organization is to provide innovative, high-quality products or services instantaneously in response to customer demands.”

Amazon is an excellent example of an organization that has pioneered virtual business.  Other successful organizations include:  e-Bay, Zappos, and Netflix.  There are some businesses that may not initially seem to be virtual organizations. Jet Blue is one of those companies.  In an article by Cisco Press titled, Defining the Virtual Business and Its Benefits, the authors explain how Jet Blue reduced inventory through standardization, reduced real estate expenses, and allowed employees to work from home.

In the book The Virtual Organization by Davidow, the author explained that virtual products may exist before it is even produced. “Its concept, design, and manufacture are stored in the minds of cooperating teams, in computers, and in flexible production lines.”

To find out more about virtual organizations’ background, characteristics, challenges, and future potential, check out Virtual Organizations.

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Facebook Recognizes Importance of E-Commerce

Companies are able to increase global reach through e-commerce (short for electric-commerce).  E-commerce occurs when products and/or services are sold over the Internet. Some examples of e-commerce include:  Online shopping, electronic payments, online auctions, internet banking, and online ticketing. E-commerce may be business-to-business, business-to-consumer, or consumer-to-consumer.

Facebook recently acquired Tagtile to grow e-commerce business. Tagtile is a company that is designed to keep customers engaged and motivated to continue to frequent a company’s website. This will help add to their strong advertising revenue. Zdnet stated, “Facebook needs to be able to bundle a solution to sell to brands who want to tap into Facebook’s store of data for closer customer connections. It needs to find an alternative revenue stream to keep its shareholders happy as it builds its e-commerce offerings post IPO.”

To find out more statistics about e-commerce, check out Statista’s site. Statista is a website that provides some important statistics available on the internet. Statista “provides business customers and academic institutions with an innovative and intuitive tool for the research of quantitative data, statistics, and facts.”

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Play Free Social Games To Finance College Tuition

Grantoo is a startup company that is designed to allow college students to use free game playing to help fund their education.  Grantoo’s tagline is “Why Pay For College When You Can Play For It?”  According to Mashable, the co-founder of Grantoo stated, “Students are playing social games a lot so we want to make it useful to them by turning something that’s a distraction or a waste of time into something that’s positive. We want to promote philanthropy at an early age, introducing students at no cost.”

Grantoo’s games include:  Wordy Bird, Grantoo Hold ‘Em, and Quiz Night.  Students can “play their tuition bill.”  Companies can sponsor tournaments through donations.  This is good for the corporate image and helps students at the same time. Mashable stated, “All of the money companies donate goes toward the combination of philanthropy and college grants for students, according to the ration determined by the game winners. Grantoo generates its own operating cost through on-site advertising.”

Grantoo partners with colleges and corporate sponsors.  Students can take their money to pay for college expenses and can pledge a percentage of winnings to a favorite philanthropic cause.  This unique gaming platform is free.  According to Grantoo’s site, “Students spend hundreds of hours per year on casual games – Grantoo’s network goes beyond entertainment. Here, you can turn your gaming hours into financing your education. In addition, your success is directed towards meaningful social contributions.”

For more about Grantoo, check out the following video:

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Student Help Page

Entrepreneurs: Funding Options from Kickstarter

Entrepreneurs often find that one of the hardest parts of realizing their dream is to obtain financing.  Some have tried microlending sites like Kiva.org.  Others have discovered a new lending platform called Kickstarter.  The site’s tagline is “a new way to fund and follow creativity.”

Kickstarter describes its site as the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.  This unique site allows entrepreneurs to keep ownership and control over their work while tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to help finance their creative ideas.  The idea must reach its funding goal or no money changes hands.  Entrepreneurs that receive their anticipated funds, can test concepts without risk.

Kickstarter’s Blog offers advice to those interested in creating a new project. The site allows for people to browse current ideas or to create their own.  To begin a new project dedicated to film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and more, creators can check out Kickstarter school.

Once a project is listed on the site, it displays timeline and pledge information including:  Percent Funded, Amount Pledged, Number of Days Left to Receive Funds.  The picture displayed below demonstrates some examples listed on Kickstarter’s site.  On the site’s curated page, it lists “projects curated by some of the world’s foremost creative communities.” The site also allows users to view projects by staff picks, most popular, recently launched, ending soon, small projects, most funded, as well as by category and location.

For additional help with the entrepreneurial process, check out the Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.  

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What is a Meme?

There may be some confusion as to the meaning of the word meme (rhymes with dream).  John Gunders and Damon Brown, authors of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Memes, define it as, “A cultural unit of measure.  It can be a thought, a phrase, a style, or any other cultural expression that can be imitated by individuals.  More important, a meme is a replicator; that is, a particle of culture that strives to get itself copied as many times as possible.”

Basically it is an idea that is replicated through imitation.  There is a lot of that going around on the Internet.  If an idea catches on there, it may be referred to as “going viral”.  There is much more than just Internet messages that are memes.  Gunders and Brown explain that things like philosophy, sex, religion and politics also exhibit meme qualities.

It is a unit of culture such as a tune, idea, habit, that makes its way from person to person. It must be short enough to catch on and easily understood.  There are a lot of versions of the following meme that are based on different job occupations.  The template of what others think that the job entails is the same.  People have had some fun putting in their own ideas of the different perspectives of a job.  Here is one for a sales professional:

Examples of Memes:

  • Technological:  Rick Rolling – Promising one web site but redirecting to Rick Astley’s music video.
  • Musical:  The opening five bars of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.
  • Marketing:  Slogans like “Where’s the Beef?”  The trick is to have something be catchy, memorable and desirable.

The Players and How it Works:

  • The Creator:  Creates the Meme
  • The Hook:  The Enticement to Remember the Idea; Example:  Belief That Others Will Enjoy Idea or That Others Need to Experience the Idea
  • The Bait:  The Desired Result; Example: Positive Benefit of Meme is Realized
  • The Vector:  The Medium that Transports the Idea.  Example:  E-mail, Facebook, Youtube
  • The Host:  The Carrier of the Idea Who Initiates Delivery

Popular Internet Memes:

Popular Concept Memes:

Popular Video Memes:

Popular Picture Memes:

The following list are some websites that explain more about memes:

What is Pinterest and Why is it Growing so Fast?

Pinterest is a site that allows people to share things that they find on the Internet.  Users may use pinboards to plan their weddings, organize recipes, decorate their homes and more. Users may browse others’ boards to obtain ideas or share common interests. A “pin” is an image that may be captured from the internet through the use of a “pin it button”.  These images are then pinned to a board that is like a poster or page.

Mashable reported, “Development of Pinterest began in December 2009 and the site launched as a closed beta in March 2010. The site proceeded to operate in invitation-only open beta. Later, the site made registration possible after an email request. On August 16, 2011, Time magazine published Pinterest in its “50 Best Websites of 2011” column.”

Some of the reasons for Pinterest’s growth may include:

  • Strong word of mouth recommendations
  • Ease of image capture
  • Visual appeal

In the article The Explosive Growth of Pinterest, Sendblaster.com reported, “According to Business Insider, traffic to Pinterest has increased by more than 40 times since December of 2011. As of January 2012, Pinterest had 11.7 million unique users, and this social media site with a twist continues to experience explosive growth.”

Business Insider published 6 Charts That Reveal the Truth About Pinterest’s Crazy Growth.  Statista put together the following chart that demonstrates how the site has dramatically increased growth in unique visitors and average time spent per visitor.

Check out the FAQs for Pinterest by clicking here.

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Help With Yelp: Popularity of Site Important for Business

With all of the review sites out there, why is Yelp so important?  Yelp’s site helps connect people with businesses. According to their site, “Yelp had an average of approximately 66 million monthly unique visitors in Q4 2011.”  Statista put together the following infographic to demonstrate the importance of Yelp:


Businesses can use the site to post photos and connect to their customers. Yelp is most useful to businesses when customers write reviews.  It is important that the reviews are legitimate.  It is not recommended to improve ratings on Yelp through illegal means. BusinessInsider.com urges businesses to embrace Yelp or miss out on over 50 million Yelp users.

If owners are concerned about negative reviews, the following chart shows that it appears people enjoy spreading good news more than bad.

Is Yelp worth it?  That answer may be based on the type of company.  However, Bay Area Web Solutions explained that Yelp is one of the top review websites.  Check out how to use Yelp without paying for it.

Click here for the: Top Links for Help with Yelp.

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Brand Awareness: The Importance of Facebook

Youtube, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are just some of the most popular brands according to “fans” on Facebook.  Companies that have yet to embrace Facebook as an important marketing tool, are missing the boat.  Gourmet Marketing explained, “Businesses carve out an identity and following of customers through Social Media…none is more central than Facebook.”

Seattle Local Marketing’s article Tips on How to Find Fans for Facebook Fan Page stated, “Why is Facebook so useful? If you want to pull a lot of people to look and find out about your business then, the best way is Google since majority of these people use this search engines. However, Facebook comes almost as second in being one of the most accessed sites in the world.”

Social Media Today recently ran an article titled 15 Ways to Use Facebook for Business.  By creating a Facebook page, businesses can create a forum for discussion, facilitate word of mouth, research and test-market products, list press releases, and even hold contests.

Simply Zesty’s article Beer Company Generations $50.7 Million from 400,000 Facebook Fans demonstrates the impact on Facebook fan pages. New Belgium Brewing, “recently surveyed their Facebook fans and found that on average, their fans are spending $260 annually on the company’s products. This equates to $50.7 million in annual revenue, with 400,000 Facebook fans spread out across their products. Not a bad return on investment, given that the company had invested just $235,000 in 2011 in social media campaigns.”

To find out how some of the top companies rank on Facebook, check out the following chart:

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Importance of Unique and Repeat Visitors

Keeping track of unique visitors helps determine effectiveness of marketing strategies.  Webopedia explained that the term unique visitor “refers to a person who visits a Web site more than once within a specified period of time.” It may be difficult to determine the exact number of unique visitors a site may have.  PC Magazine explained, “Unique visitors are determined by the number of unique IP addresses on incoming requests that a site receives, but this can never be 100% accurate. Depending on configuration issues and type of ISP service, in some cases, one IP address can represent many users; in other cases, several IP addresses can be from the same user.”

How important are unique visitors?  Check out Unique Visitors are not everything. In this article, the author points out that it may be a “misleading stat, as Jakob Nielsen explains, Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

There seems to be confusion between unique visitors and repeat visitors in some of the articles on the Internet.  In the article Defining Unique Visitors by Imediaconnection, Brant Dainow explained, “Understanding your repeat visitors is where the money is. The reason is simple: it takes an average of 2.4 visits to your site before someone will buy. In other words, most people buy on the second or third visit to your site. No one buys the first time they visit. Repeat visitors are the ones who matter. Repeat visitors buy the products, and therefore repeat visitors pay your bills.”

Statista created an infographic that demonstrates unique visitors per month as well as average monthly use per visitor for sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, MySpace, Google, Tumblr, and Pinterest.  Not only does Facebook far exceed all others in unique visitors, users are spending over 6 hours per month on the site.  This is over 600 times the amount of time spent on Google+.

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What is Typosquatting? When Misspelling is an Expensive Mistake

Typosquatting occurs when a website is created to prey on people who may have inadvertently typed in the wrong web address.  An example would be arifrance instead of airfrance.  Typosquatting is also referred to as URL hijacking, cybersquatting or brandjacking.

The registration of misspelled domain names is illegal. Sites like Wikapedia and Twtter have been shut down and fined $156,000 each.  Mashable reported that sites like these “are popping up on the web to trick unsuspecting web users into clicking on fake ads that claim the user has won a prize. In the case of these two sites, to receive a prize, like an iPad, people were asked for their cellphone number. The site sent a text with a pin and more texts with survey questions. Each time a person responded to the survey questions via texts he or she was charged.”

Alexa reported that some of the web’s most popular sites were typosquatted. Scambusters.org lists some helpful tips to identify typosquatting.  Some of the main uses for these sites include:

  • Revenue Generating
  • Transfer of Virus and/or Malware
  • Phishing Scams
  • Advertising Pay Per Click Scam

USA Today reported that, “most typosquatting domains lead to a bot network, used to steal passwords and obtain personal information such as financial or banking records. Bot networks aren’t obvious and can involve millions of computers.”  According to TGdaily.com, it is a good idea to get into the habit of bookmarking your favorite sites to be sure that you are landing on the correct page. Sixty Four percent of the typosquatted sites are US-based.  Bendelman.org compiled a list of popular domains and their typosquatted sites to compare number of daily visitors.  Click here for that report.

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What is Socialnomics?

In Erik Qualman’s 2010 book Socialnomics, he described how socialnomics exists “where consumers and the societies they create online have a profound influence on our economy and the businesses that operate within it.”

Social media is the new word of mouth.  Now that individuals look online to find out information about products from their peers, marketing has taken a new turn. Companies must create a social networking presence in order to survive.

Click here to see some examples of socialnomics in action.

The following video gives some interesting statistics about the social media revolution.

 

Top Links Explaining Texting (SMS) and Short Codes

Just as Twitter has grown to be an important marketing tool, texting is not just for stating LOL anymore. There are some very important uses for texting, aka SMS (short messaging service). Check out some helpful links to explain texting terminology and uses:

  1. Donate to Charity – Pew Research recently reported that almost 1 in 10 Americans donate to charity through texting.
  2. Search Sites Like Google – By texting GOOGL (46645), you can search Google without opening your browser. Check out:  Six Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do. Word/number texts like GOOGL (46645) are called common short codes.  Check out:  Basics of CSCs to find out everything you need to know about common short codes.
  3. Send and Receive Email – To find out how to use SMS to access email, check out:  16 Things You  Can Do With SMS Text Messages.
  4. Check the Weather – By texting 4CAST (42278), you can access weather forecasts.  Check out:  Five Great Things You Can Do With a Text Message For Free.
  5. Check Calendar – By texting GEVENT (48368), you can access your Google calendar and schedule appointments.  Check out: Ten Terrific Things You Can Do With Text Messaging.
  6. Track Packages – Your SMS can track your UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and other packages through TrackThis.  Check out:  Run Your Life with SMS:  10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do Via Text.
  7. Learn Texting Abbreviations – You may know LOL, but there is an entire site of information dedicated to explaining what all of those text messaging and online chat abbreviations mean and text message abbreviations.
  8. Text From a Computer – If you have a computer and someone’s 10-digit phone number, you can text them without needing a phone.  The following explains how to text people based on their carrier (i.e., Verizon, AT&T, etc.):  Text from a Computer.
  9. Create a Common Short Code (CSC) – You can create your own CSC campaign by leasing a code.  Check out:  Obtaining a CSC.  Remember the CSC is like GOOGL or 4CAST noted above.  Keep in mind that leasing the code is the first step. You’ll still need to negotiate agreements with each of the wireless carriers to activate your short code. To be part of the CSCA directory listing, click here.
  10. Enhance Business – Business can utilize short codes for contests, lead capture and more.  Check out:  Top 10 Business Goals Enhanced by Short Codes.

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Top 5 Secrets for Online Student Success

Online education is growing at a pace that far exceeds general education enrollment.  Because of the popularity of online learning, many traditional universities are offering online courses.  Forbes recently reported that MIT will soon offer free education for everyone. With all of the online options available, students may be confused as to where to go for helpful information.  There are plenty of sites available to help online students find schools, locate loans and even determine majors.  What is not as readily available is information about how to be a successful online student once he or she is enrolled.

The following is the top 5 list of things that can help the new online student succeed once they have already chosen their school and major.  Click on the blue links for more information about each topic:

  1. Learn Goal Setting – Read about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.  The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (sometimes also Results-Based), and Timely (or Time-Bound).  Students should set S.M.A.R.T. education goals. Those that neglect to do this may find that it takes them longer to graduate, while they waste time and money.
  2. Learn Tools Offered – Most online universities offer some extremely helpful writing, editing and plagiarism-checking tools.  The school’s online site may also have helpful tutorials to explain how to use the software (also known as the platform) that delivers the classroom information.  Learning how to navigate in the online classroom may take a little time.  However, after taking the first class, many students feel more confident in their navigating abilities.
  3. Use the School’s Library – Students may forget that their university has an online library.  It is important that students do not get in the habit of searching for information using Google, Yahoo! and other similar engines. A well-written paper is supported by peer-reviewed articles.  These may be easily found using the school’s search engines located in their online library.
  4. Learn APA – APA stands for American Psychological Association.  For college students, APA refers to the format in which papers should be written.  While APA may seem daunting to the new learner, there are some very useful examples of APA papers online that can help explain the requirements.
  5. Learn How to Cite – Professors often require students to cite research in his or her papers.  Most often they must cite in APA format.  There are some helpful sites to help students learn how to cite correctly.  Students must also learn how to paraphrase, include in-text citations and avoid plagiarism.

Click here for more useful tips about how to be a successful online college student.

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Site Makes Citing Easy

Citation Machine is a website that helps students learn how to format citations and references. According to the site, “Citation machine helps students and professional researchers to properly credit the information that they use. Its primary goal is to make it so easy for student researchers to cite their information sources.”

The site also includes a “most cited today” section where it displays some of the most recently cited websites and books.

A student can simply put in a site and author information and it will give the appropriate example of how to cite that information within their paper in APA or MLA. If the student has the ISBN number, it is even easier.

The following example shows how entering the ISBN can return APA citation results.  First enter the ISBN.

Then hit submit.  That will pull up a page that looks something like this.

Click “Make Citation” and it will create the biographical citation information for the reference page as well as the in-text citation information that will look like this.

Note that I did not enter the publisher or publishing city information in the prior example.  This led to a citation that is lacking that information.  I purposely did that to show that if information is left out, the results may not be perfect.  Although the in-text citation information is correct here, the reference page information is missing the publisher and location.  Be sure to double-check that all appropriate information is input or the output may not be correct.

If you do not have the ISBN, you can enter the information you do have.  Note that on the left side of the screen, the site gives you choices of books, articles, journals, blogs and more.  Click on the appropriate source and enter the information that you have.

Although this system is not fool-proof, it can be a helpful instrument in guiding students regarding APA or MLA citation and reference formatting.

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Successful Students Use Plagiarism and Editing Programs

Students who do not use their school’s library writing centers are missing important, helpful information, and their grades may be suffering because of this.  Online universities offer some very useful tools that can help students to edit their papers, locate scholarly journals, and even double-check for plagiarism issues.  Some of the programs available to students include professional editing software like WritePoint, a database search engine like Proquest, and a plagiarism checker like TurnItIn.  Some schools may use different programs other than WritePoint or TurnItIn, but the programs function similarly.  Students should check their online library for availability of specific writing tools.

The successful student will do their research through the school’s library database search engines.  Once they have written their paper, and have double-checked that they have met all of the teacher’s requirements, they will submit it to the editing software (if available) and the plagiarism checker (required by many schools).  The following gives an explanation of how these three programs work:

  • Professional Editing Software – Example: WritePoint is a program that inserts comments directly into the student’s paper just like a professional editor.  The program will highlight grammar and spelling issues as well as other formatting issues including:  Capitalization issues, clichés, wording choices, use of second person, subject/verb agreement, weak or redundant wording, improper punctuation or hyphenation, and subject/pronoun disagreement.  The student will receive their paper back with comments. At this point, the student can make the appropriate suggested changes and then submit their paper as assigned.  This helps teach the student how to edit their own papers and dramatically improves their ability to get a higher grade.  This also allows professors to focus on the student’s content.  Not all schools offer editing software.

  • Database Search Engine – Example: Proquest is a program that offers over 30 databases of information including:  Dissertations, Newspapers and scholarly journals.  For students doing research that requires peer-reviewed scholarly sources, this can be a very helpful tool.  Students should use their school’s library search engine rather than researching through sites like Google or Yahoo!

 

 

  • Plagiarism Checker – Example: TurnItIn is the leading program that checks for plagiarism issues.  The program carries over 150 million archived papers.  There are a variety of websites where students can purchase papers.  Schools are very aware of these sites and programs like TurnItIn will catch these papers.  Students should be aware that professors will submit their papers to TurnItIn and will catch them if they try to submit work that is not their own.

Students may have had some initial training regarding these programs when they first entered school.  However, with all of the other things they had to learn at the time, many may have forgotten the importance of these tools. Students with questions about what his or her school offers, should ask their guidance counselor. 

The top articles on this site that are helpful to a student’s success include:

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Could Augmented Reality Technology Inspire the Next Steve Jobs?

One of the biggest obstacles the new entrepreneur faces is coming up with a unique idea.  The Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world have raised the creativity bar.  By creating augmented reality phone apps, certain companies are getting attention.  Autonomy has developed a new technology called Arasmsa that may change how people interact with objects.  It works with a smart phone and can reveal some things that are not readily visible to the naked eye.  Check out the following video:

With the popularity of QR codes and now new technologies like Arasmsa, there is potential for some amazing app possibilities.  For example, you can now point your phone at a magazine and have an app translate the material from one language to another.  There are a variety of augmented reality apps already available on the market.  Check out 40 Best Augmented Reality Phone Apps and 2 Augmented Reality Technologies that are about to Change the World.

The question is who will be the next Zuckerberg or Jobs to create an idea that goes above and beyond what is already out there?  Perhaps they are listed in the article 8 Important Silicon Valley Innovators Not Named Steve Jobs.  Only time will tell.

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Top 10 Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big Before Turning 35

There was a time when it was unusual to hear about an entrepreneur becoming successful at a very young age.  With the technology boom, the story is becoming more commonplace.  The following list contains the top 10 entrepreneurs whose dreams came to fruition and made them very rich before they hit the ripe old age of 35.

  1. Apple – Creators:  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  Apple was established in 1976, the year Steve Jobs turned 21 and Steve Wozniak turned 26. 
  2. Amazon – Creator:  Jeff Bezos.  Amazon was founded in 1994, the year Jeff Bezos turned 30.
  3. Disney – Creator:  Walt Disney.  Disney was founded in 1923, the year Walt Disney turned 22.
  4. Facebook – Creators:  Mark Zuckerburg and his college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Facebook was launched in 2004, the year that Mark Zuckerburg turned 20. 
  5. Google – Creators:  Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Google was incorporated in 1998 the year that Larry Page and Sergey Brin turned 25.  Google’s IPO was in August of 2004, the year the men turned just 31. 
  6. Groupon– Creator:  Andrew Mason.  Groupon was created in 2008, the year Mason turned 29.
  7. LinkedIn – Creators:  Reid Hoffman and founders from PayPal.  LinkedIn was founded in late 2002 the year that Hoffman turned 35. 
  8. Microsoft – Creators:  Bill Gates and Paul Allen.  Microsoft was established in 1975, the year Bill Gates turned 20 and Paul Allen turned 22.
  9. Twitter – Creator:  Jack Dorsey.  Twitter was created in 2006, the year Dorsey turned 30. 
  10. Yahoo! – Creators: Jerry Yang and David Filo.  Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995, the year that Jerry Yang turned 27 and David Filo turned 29. 

Click on the company names above to find out more details and top stories about these unique companies. 

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Google+ Uses for Educators: Good or Bad?

Easy accessibility to Google+ makes it an option for educators to share important information with their students.  The author of the article 25 Great Google+ Tips for Teachers explains some unusual ways that educators have found to use this new social networking tool. 

Google+ hangouts area can be used to create a virtual classroom.  Mindshift reported, “Google Hangouts allows up to 10 people to video chat with one another.” Students can follow each other to see the research that they are doing for group projects.  Interesting articles can be shared easily between members.  To read more about potential uses, click here.

However, not everyone is a fan of Google+ for educators.  ReadWriteWeb questioned whether Google+ is the tool that educators have been waiting for due to the privacy issues involved.  For more information check out the following related articles: 

 

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Companies Rewarding Employees for Entrepreneurial Ideas

Gone are the old days of having a suggestion box at work.  Today’s modern company has set up some much more sophisticated ways of obtaining knowledge and creative ideas from their employees.  The following list contains some useful tools that employers have utilized that have even replaced their need to go to outside consulting firms:

  • Innovative Management Programs – Sites like Brainbank, InnoCentive and Spigit are just a few of the popular sites that companies use to allow employees to submit and vote on ideas.
  • Idea-Management Websites –  PriceWaterhouseCoopers created a company site to gather employees’ input about cost cutting, improving customer service and other ways to improve revenue.  These sites can be very successful.  IdeasAmerica, an association for suggestion administration, surveyed customers and found that ideas submitted by employees saved over $110 million or an average of $1256 per idea
  • Set up KiosksBruce Power is one of many companies who have set up idea kiosks.  Resembling ATMs, these kiosks are easily accessible and allow employees to vote on ideas. 
  • Create Financial IncentivesCompanies may give rewards for employees’ ideas that result in cost savings.  They may receive financial incentives or points to use toward rewards. 
  • Set Up Idea ChallengesAllstate created an online challenge for its employees to come up with some good ideas about how to create their company app. 

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Unusual Uses for QR Codes in the Classroom and Job Market

QR codes are those little barcode looking squares that are popping up everywhere.  They are an excellent marketing tool.  They have some unique applications as well.  The article 50 Great Ways to Use QR Codes in the College Classroom lists some unusual uses such as:

  • Using QR codes on name plates to find instructor office hours
  • Adding QR codes to the syllabus to link to classroom calendar
  • Adding to class announcements to create buzz for upcoming events
  • Linking QR codes to lectures, videos or answers to commonly asked questions
  • Linking QR codes to digital portfolios

These are just some of the unique classroom uses.  Click on the link above to read all 50 uses. 

For more articles about using QR Codes check out:

Stand Out In Job Market with Mini Resume Cards

Combining a resume with a business card in a smart, easy to read fashion, is a great way to capture a future employer’s attention.  ResuMiniMe is a site that has done a nice job of creating such a card.  In just minutes, job-seekers can create a traditional-sized business card that promotes their strengths while serving as a nice ice-breaker for networking opportunities.  Prices start at $90 for 1000 cards.  Gift packages are available.  A free profile on LinkedIn is required. 

They offer two style choices for the back of the card.  A traditional standard style that lists education and experience is one option.  Also offered is the option to include a QR code on the back.  For more information about using QR codes to find a job, click here. 

The following are examples of the cards that can be created on this site.  The back of the card is shown vertically here for easy readability.

Front (although not listed here, a phone number may be included):

Back Traditional:

Back QR Code Version:

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Top Links for Help with Deciphering Web Analytics

Sites like Alexa, Compete, Google Analytics and Quantcast can give some important data about website visitors.  If these were the only choices available, it might not be so difficult to choose the best tools for web analytics.  However, there are a lot of sites out there.  They may also have some techy jargon. Some terms that may be confusing to some who are trying to decipher the data include:

To explain the importance of the type of visitor, check out the article: Total or Unique Visitors:   What is the Difference? While many people focus on unique visitors, in an article titled Unique Visitors are not Everything, Jakob Nielson was quoted as saying, “Chasing higher unique-visitor counts will undermine your long-term positioning because you’ll design gimmicks rather than build features that bring people back and turn them into devotees and customers.”

To try and keep it all straight and pick the correct site based on individual needs, check out the following top 10 links with information about web analytics, explanations of popular tools and what they measure:

  1. Web Analytics Demystified – Unique visitors ONLY come in one size.
  2. Alexa Analytics Explained – Take a tour of Alexa’s analytics.
  3. Compete Analytics Explained – Where they get their data and PDF of methodology.
  4. Google Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Google Analytics issues.
  5. Quantcast Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Quantcast Analytic issues.
  6. Top 24 Web Analytics Software Packages – Top software packages explained.
  7. 11 Best Web Analytic Tools – Includes Google, Yahoo, Crazy Egg, Compete, and more.
  8. Alltop Web Analytic News – News about all analytic issues.
  9. Web Analytics Review – Side by side comparison of top web analytic tools.
  10. Yahoo! Analytics Explained – FAQ for all Yahoo! Analytics issues.

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Online Classes So Important: Mandatory for Graduation

Times have certainly changed for high school education.  Alabama, Florida and Michigan are just some of the states that now require students to take at least one online course to graduate.  According to the article 10 Online Ed Trends Coming to a High School Near You, “Administrators believe that getting students to take online courses will better prepare them to work with the technologies they’ll face in college and the workforce.”

In Memphis online classes were increased due to an upswing in the desire by students to take these courses.  Online courses are available for both high school and middle school students.  An advantage for the schools is that they are less expensive.  In the article Online Class Required for Graduation in Memphis, the author points out that there will be some stringent requirements.  “The structure calls for accountability requiring students to log on, finish assignments, and participate in hour-long live chat sessions with an instructor and classmates. Teachers speak with students after each module to verify their identity. Proctored semester exams are administered on school grounds.”

The number of states adding online requirements continues to grow.  Idaho has a tech-focused school reform program that will require students to take two online courses.  Indiana has also jumped on the technology bandwagon.  Indiana state superintendent, Tony Bennett, recently announced that students will be required to take at least one online course in order to graduate.  In the article United States High Schools Including Online Coursework as Graduation Requirement, the author stated, “Mr. Bennett explained his rationale for an online course requirement by stating that he felt like experiencing an online course would help to prepare Indiana students for the technology they will be using at colleges and universities, as well as in the workforce.”

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Top 20 TED Talks Not To Be Missed

TED.com contains some of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining videos on the Internet.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  The site shares video-recorded talks given by some of the most intelligent and interesting people in the world.  There are plenty of top TED presentation lists on the Internet, that are created based on people’s interests.  One of the most recent subject-specific lists I’ve seen is 20 Essential Ted Talks for Entrepreneurial Students.  This is an excellent list for potential entrepreneurs. 

However, TED has far more than just entrepreneur-related topics to offer.  If you plan on getting lost on any site on the Internet, do it on TED. I try to view to as many TED talks as I can possibly fit into my schedule.  Of the ones I have watched recently, I have created my own top 20 list of TED talks that I feel should not be missed:

  1. Arthur Benjamin on Doing Mathemagic
  2. Alain de Botton on A Kinder Gentler Philosophy of Success
  3. Ted Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation
  4. Deb Roy on the Birth of a Word
  5. Dennis Hong on Making a Car for Blind Drivers
  6. Oliver Sacks on What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds
  7. David Bolinksy on Animating a Cell
  8. Anthony Atala on Printing a Human Kidney
  9. Stewart Brand on Does the World Need Nuclear Energy
  10. Adam Astrow on After Your Final Status Update
  11. Jeff Hawkins on How Brain Science Will Change Computing
  12. John Hodgman on Aliens, Love and Where Are They?
  13. Cameron Herald on Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs
  14. Edward Tenner on Unintended Consequences
  15. Misha Glenny on Hire the Hackers!
  16. Gregory Petsko on The Coming Neurological Epidemic
  17. Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce
  18. Joshua Walters on Being Just Crazy Enough
  19. Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice
  20. Steve Jobs on How to Live Before You Die Speech at Stanford

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New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism

Article first published as New Studies Show Technology to Blame for Increase in Plagiarism on Technorati.

Two Pew Research studies conducted in the spring of 2011 have shown that technology has made it easier for college students to cheat.  TechNewsDaily reported, “A report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 55 percent of college presidents said they noticed an increase in plagiarism over the past decade, and 89 percent of that group said technology has played a major role.”

Some are blaming this increase on the fact that more colleges are offering online courses. PewSocialTrends reported, “More than three-quarters of the nation’s colleges and universities now offer online classes, according to the survey of college presidents, and about one-in-four college graduates (23%) have taken a course online, according to the general public survey.” However, others are saying this is not only an online course issue as traditional courses allow students Internet access to do their research as well.  The traditional classroom has seen its share of technology-related issues including the use of portable cellular devices to text answers to test questions.

Research shows that there will be more growth in digital learning. With this growth has generally come more appreciation. Online learning has become a more well-respected form of learning.  “The vast majority of two-year colleges offer online courses (91%), and their leaders are among the most likely to believe that online learning is comparable to learning in a classroom.” However, with access to the Internet, schools must take steps to insure that students are submitting their own work. 

One of the biggest issues is plagiarism. Sometimes students plagiarize unintentionally due to a lack of understanding how to cite correctly in APA format.  However, many intentionally plagiarize. Schools have combatted this problem by requiring papers be run through a plagiarism-checker like TurnItIn.  Universities buy licenses to use the TurnItIn website which checks documents for originality.  TurnItIn boasts the following statistics:

  • 150+ million archived student papers
  • 90,000+ journals, periodicals & books
  • 1+ million active instructors
  • 14+ billion web pages crawled
  • 10,000 educational institutions
  • 20+ million licensed students
  • 126 countries

Sites like TurnItIn include many of the papers that are sold online.  Students who are caught submitting these papers face being expelled.  Plagiarism checkers are helpful finding papers that have already been written. However, they cannot detect papers that students pay others to write for them.

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SitePal and Voki: Add Pizzazz to Your Website or Classroom

There are some fun sites that can be used to animate pictures to add pizzazz to websites or online classrooms.  One of these sites, Voki, is free and is available for non-commercial use.  For commercial use, SitePal starts at just $9.95/month. 

Are you looking for a way to create content for an online classroom?  Consider adding a link to Voki.  “Voki enables users to express themselves on the web in their own voice using a talking character. You can customize your Voki to look like you or take on the identity of lots of other types of characters… animals, monsters, anime etc. Your Voki can speak with your own voice which is added via microphone, upload, or phone. Voki lives on your blog, social network profile and will soon be integrated in various instant messaging platforms. You will also be able to download it to most video supported phones.”

Click on the picture below to see what happens if you add a link to your Voki-created file.   Be sure to hit the play button to hear the message once you get there.

If you are looking for a way to stand out on your website, resume, email signature line, or other form of social media, consider SitePal. “SitePal is an easy-to-use service that allows you to create a speaking avatar for your website and empower your online communication.” Click on the picture below to see that animation. 

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New Site Measures the Future of Social Business

Article first published as New Site Measures the Future of Social Business on Technorati.

Social Business Index is a new site that ranks and scores the social performance of top global companies. The list of companies on this site already includes such giants as Samsung, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Dell, Target, and IBM. The site is currently free and offers businesses analytics and competitive intelligence to improve social media performance.

According to the SBI site, some of the things they offer for companies include:

  • Company Index – View the rankings and strengths of companies using social business strategies.
  • Industry Performance – View cumulative social business scores for top industries.
  • Trends – View companies on the move and top performers.
  • Social Business Graph – View the strength of the constituents (company, market, employees, partners, influencers) of your social business community and the strengths of the conversations among them.
  • Compare – Compare conversation strength, account strength, and score of your company and its competitors.
  • Filter Settings – Filter your view by contexts built from region, subsidiary, department, or brand.

SBI is a project of Dachis Group, one of the world’s largest social business management consultancies.  According to ZDNet, “The new platform currently analyzes hundreds of millions of signals from tens of thousands of companies, through the use of natural language processing, machine learning, and clustering algorithms in near real-time.”

 

Social Business Intelligence is a hot topic right now because businesses can use this analytic information to deliver actionable information and make critical decisions.   According to TheNextWeb, “That treasure trove of data and potential insight is ripe for analysis and insight to understand the impact and value of a particular activity. That insight can be immediately acted on to optimize the strategies of a brand because of the unique nature of social’s authentic, two way communication with the market. Not only does this provide the potential for superior marketing results, but creates the opportunity to test many messages with many segments and measure them individually (in a way, similar to the unique A/B testing of performance marketings simpler marketing activities).”

Famous Computer Geniuses with Asperger’s

 

In a recent TED.com talk by Misha Glenny, titled Hire the Hackers,Glenny noted at the end of his talk that many famous computer hackers have characteristics that are consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome.  He mentioned he discussed this with Professor of Development Psychopathology at Cambridge, Simon Baron-Cohen, who “confirmed Gary McKinnon who is wanted by the United States for hacking into the Pentagon suffers from Asperger’s.  Cohen explained that certain disabilities can manifest themselves in the hacking computer world as tremendous skills.”

This is not the first time that there has been mention of famous hackers having this disorder.  Adrian Lamo, once hunted by the FBI, was institutionalized and diagnosed with Asperger’s.  Cnet News recently reported, “Ryan Cleary, the 19-year-old charged in the U.K. on five counts of computer hacking activity, has Asperger’s syndrome.”

According to Wired.com, “There are no reliable figures on how many people have Asperger’s, but anecdotally a lot of them are drawn into the computer field, particularly the logic-heavy world of coding. BitTorrent creator Bram Cohen has diagnosed himself with the disorder, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is frequently speculated to have it.” According to Businessweek, Bram Cohen’s disorder is, “a condition that keeps him rooted in the world of objects and patterns, puzzles and computers, but leaves him floating, disoriented, in the everyday swirl of human interactions.” In the movie The Social Network, some of the mannerisms that the Mark Zuckerberg character displayed may have implied he had Asperger’s as well.

Some other famous minds that have been noted as having Asperger’s include Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton.  The article, The Potential Genius of Asperger’s contains a long list of famous people who have been thought to have this disorder.

Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen developed an AQ test that measures the Autism Spectrum Quotient.  “In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger’s report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.” To take the Asperger’s test, click here.

The following is Misha Glenny’s talk from TED:

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Facebook Now Allows Subscriptions to Your Site

Facebook announced a new feature that will allow for people to expand their exposure on Facebook.  People can subscribe to your feed if you set it up for them to do so.  This is a useful tool for companies who have a profile but not a separate Facebook page to promote.  Without having a page set up, the profile site previously required an acceptance by the owner for people to view the content. 

With the new subscribe feature, all that has to be done to allow others to view the profile, is for the owner of the profile to look for the word subscriptions under their profile picture.  By clicking on that, they can enable others to see their updates.

 

This isn’t the only change announced by Facebook. According to TechCrunch, “In addition to Subscriptions, Facebook is also making it easier to tweak the amount and types of content that show up your News Feed. Now, when you’re viewing a user’s profile, you’ll be able to hit a button and choose from three subscription settings:

  • All updates: Everything your friend posts
  • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
  • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

You’ll also be able to choose what kinds of content you want to see (for example, you could opt to block all game-related updates from one of your friends, but keep their photo updates).”

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Scary Things Doctors Do: New Investigative Tool for Patients

Most doctors do wonderful things. They take care of their patients and work very hard. I’m married to a fantastic doctor, so I know they exist.  However, having spent 15 years as a pharmaceutical representative, I saw some scary things out there.  It’s important to keep in mind that someone had to graduate last in their class.  Here is a list of things that I actually saw occur in doctors’ offices while I was in the field.

  1. Illegal drug use in doctor’s office – There was one office where the receptionist actually had her boyfriend shoot something (I assume heroine) into her arm while I talked to her through the glass partition that separated the waiting room from the doctor’s area.  The reaction she got from the medication made it clear it was some form of illegal substance.  The doctor walked right by and had no reaction. 
  2. Doctors popping pills – There was one doctor I called on who would take Prozac while he chatted, bragging, “I take these things to lose weight.”  This same guy was always popping some form of pill, usually for an off-label use.
  3. Doctors committing fraud – Another doctor in my territory was arrested for charging the government for testing blood that he never actually tested.
  4. Doctors not using best medications to save money – I called on a doctor who once told me that he would not prescribe a drug that he thought he was good for his patients because, as he put it, “that comes out of my budget  . . . if they go to the ER, someone else pays for it.”  He had no problem telling me that he didn’t mind if his patients suffered if it meant he could make a few more bucks from the HMO. 
  5. Doctors getting paid by pharmaceutical companies – It is not unusual for a doctor to get paid to speak for certain pharmaceutical companies.  I remember calling on a particular doctor who made it very clear that he not only spoke for a particular company but also had a great deal of stock in that company. Because of this relationship, he had no intention of using competitive products even if they were better. 

The good news is that the Internet allows for patients investigate issues with their doctors.  According to the article, How To Find Out if Your Doctor and Drugmakers Are In A Relationship, “The nonprofit investigative journalism outfit ProPublica has a tool you can use to see how much money your doctor has received from drug companies.”  To find out if your doctor is profiting from drug companies, click here to go to the ProPublica site.

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Researching Apple: Top 10 Most Useful Links

The following list was created to put all of the most useful information about Apple in one easy to find location:

  1. When Was Apple Incorporated?  “Apple was incorporated in the state of California on January 3, 1977.”
  2. When Apple Went IPO Apple’s initial public offering was on December 12, 1980 at $22 per share. “The stock has split three times since the IPO so on a split-adjusted basis the IPO share price was $2.75.”
  3. Apple’s Mission Statement:   Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.  The Apple website officially lists their mission statement as:  “Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.”
  4. How to Find Up to the Minute Price on Apple Stock Apple’s ticker symbol is AAPL – click here for 20 minute delayed price.
  5. The First Apple Logo Featured Isaac Newton Newton was sitting under a tree with an apple about to fall on his head.
  6. The Name iPod Came From 2001: A Space Odyssey “As soon as I saw the white iPod, I thought 2001,” Chieco told Wired in 2006. “Open the pod bay door, Hal! Then it was just a matter of adding the ‘i’ prefix, as in ‘iMac.'”
  7. Apple Lists Detailed Information About their Environmental Footprint:  The Apple site lists their total footprint including information from manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling and facilities.
  8. Apple’s Annual Report  “Apple does not produce a glossy annual report. Apple’s Form 10-K is available on our website. If you require a hard copy, go to the Request Information form and select the Form 10-K.”
  9. Apple’s Dividend History:  Find Apple dividend and stock split information.  Apple has had three 2- for-1 stock splits in 1987, 2000 and 2005.
  10. Apple Press Releases: This link includes all press releases, including Steve Jobs’ Retirement Letter to the Apple Board of Directors.

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Social Media Presence Able to Continue Virtually After Death

Adam Astrow stated some interesting social media statistics in his recent TED.com presentation titled After Your Final Status Update. His talk was about what happens to your social media presence after you die and whether it can be saved in a virtual personality.

He cited some pretty interesting numbers for how much data is being uploaded to Youtube, Twitter and Facebook and claimed that that data could possibly be used to create a presence after one has passed away. 

He pointed out that there are already some sites and apps that can create postings for people post-mortem. There is an “If I Die” app can that can create video to be posted on Facebook after one’s death.  There is a site called 1000 Memories that states, “1000memories is a free site that celebrates the lives of people who matter most – our friends and family, past and present. We help bring the albums, scrapbooks, and photo-filled shoeboxes of our lives out of the closet and into an online, shareable space where they can be remembered and celebrated, together in one place.”

Although one may have passed on, their lives can be remembered indefinitely through the use of technology.

Have a Laugh from Site that Compiles Past Tweets

There is a fun little site called That Can Be My Next Tweet. It pulls information from your Twitter account and calculates what your possible next Tweet could include based on what you have Tweeted in the past.  Every time you push the “get your next Tweet” button, it comes up with a new jumble of words combined from your past postings.  I put in drdianehamilton and the first three times I pushed the button, I got the following responses:

  1. You are emotionally intelligent? 3 Answers: Consumer Trends to Target its 90 Million From Russian?  
  2. Develop Socially You About Your Current Job Google and Psychological Bloggers and Business Review: How?
  3. Boomerang Generation: College Tuition Really Want This New Pew Is Your Current Job Google Using QR code!

It was fun for a few minutes.  I’m not sure it has lasting appeal, but it can be good for a few laughs. I put in a few personalities that can tend to be characters to see what their next Tweet might be.  Here is what it generated: 

Charlie Sheen:  Sloppy TunaGet you’re going to Colombia, it’s my page & ! KH & RH RT!! Anger Management ANGER & coke round.

Ashton Kutcher:  I’m a joke. retweet to keep spending millions to people sounds funnier than astronauts.

Kanye West:  Chilling with my stress and I just threw some bassoon on Yeezy’s and the right thing but I know Howie?

BrianWilson (the closing pitcher for the San Francisco Giants):  Charlie Sheen is why. The Tux. Made of the Wharf. you enjoy choking on today’s run, upon reaching the 1st!

To check out: That Can Be My Next Tweet, click here.

Social Networking Use Doubled: Future for Neuromarketing

Recent Pew Research found that 65% of adult online users are taking advantage of social media sites. That is more than double the 29% of users in 2008.  According to Pew, “The pace with which new users have flocked to social networking sites has been staggering; when we first asked about social networking sites in February of 2005, just 8% of internet users – or 5% of all adults – said they used them.”  With such an increase in adults frequenting social media sites, this could have a dramatic impact on how companies market their products.

Adults are making social networking a normal part of their daily routine.  The only part of daily Internet usage by adults that takes up more time than social networking was checking email and using search engines.   Women were more likely to use social networking than men. Young adult usage has been more stable, while older users are increasing their frequency. 

Half of American adults now use Facebook. This increase in how people use the Internet has a strong impact on how marketers must focus their advertising.  Previous research has already shown that women were more likely to use the “like” button on Facebook.  However, this requires action on the part of the user to hit the “like” button. 

Now the trick would be to somehow combine neuromarketing with social networking. If there are QR readers that can read information, what is next . . . eye tracking programs to register product appeal?  Eye tracking is just one form of neuromarketing.  Neuromarketing is one of many routes that the future of advertising may be headed.  Several companies have used neuromarketing techniques.  “Frito-Lay has been studying female brains to learn how to better appeal to women. Findings showed the company should avoid pitches related to “guilt” and guilt-free and play up “healthy” associations.” 

Now if the programmers who created the QR reader can create an app for eye tracking, think of the neuromarketing possibilities.  If women are flocking to social media sites, companies like Frito-Lay could use these techniques to find out much more about the appeal of their products.  This possibility may not be so far off in the future.

Make a Free Easy App Without iTunes

It can be quite frustrating and difficult to create an app that iTunes will accept.  I found a quick little way to create a free app that is easily accessed through a site called ConduitMobile.  You need to access the site to create the app through Safari instead of Explorer though.  If you don’t have Safari, you can download that easily for free.  

Once on the ConduitMobile site, it is very simple to create a decent app that contains things like RSS feeds, websites, Youtube feeds, contact forms and more.  When you are finished creating the app, you can test it on your computer screen to see how it looks.  When you are happy with the app, you can simply pick the option of “Web-based App Open on Mobile Phone”.  This will generate a QR code that you can scan with your QR Reader.  You can have this QR code and link sent to your email address.

If you scan the QR code, that will open the page to your app on your phone.  At this point, you click on the icon at the bottom of your iPhone that looks like a circle with a pen in it.  At that point, it will ask you if you want to open in Safari.  Pick yes and this will open up the website on your phone so that you can save it to your home screen. 

To see how it works, scan this code into your reader or click here to see more about the code and app.  By scanning in my code listed below, you can have access to my articles, Youtube videos and more on your iPhone. 

An even easier way to get the app onto your iPhone is to just use the link that is sent to your email that contains the QR code.  The link for the one above is http://drdianehamilton.mobapp.at/.  Simply open the site like this one on your phone and save it to your desktop.  You can also go to that link and forward it to people by entering their email address.  Keep in mind though that, unlike an app you download from iTunes, this app will be web-based and will require an Internet connection to display the information. 

Watch the following video for step by step directions about how to create your free app without having to go through iTunes:

Top Sites to Find Statistics and Charts for Writing Articles

Have you ever wondered where journalists find all of those great charts and graphs to show their statistics?  Here is a list of some of the most helpful free sites to find important data and charts to use when doing research for articles:

  • Alexa.com – “Free traffic metrics, search analytics, demographics, and more for websites.
  • Census Figures:  U S Census Bureau – Topics Include: People and Households, Business and Industry, Geography, Fraudulent Activities and Scams, Newsroom and Related Sites that include information about Jobs, Research Programs and Other Agencies.
  • Labor Statistics:  U S Department of Labor – Topics Include:  Inflation, Pay and Benefits, Consumer Spending, Unemployment, Employment, Workplace Injuries, and Productivity.
  • Morningstar.com – “Morningstar provides stock market analysis; equity, mutual fund, and ETF research, ratings, and picks; portfolio tools; and option, hedge fund, IRA, 401k, and 529 plan research.
  • Nationmaster.com – “a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations.”
  • Pew Research Center – Numbers, Facts and Trends:   – Topics Include:  Population Trends, Domestic Policy, Economics, Elections, Energy and Environment, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Internet and Technology, Legal, News Media, Politics and Elections, Polling, Public Opinion, Religion, Research Methodology, and Social Trends.
  • Quantcast.com – “Free direct audience measurement for all website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more.
  • Real Time World Statistics:  Worldometers – Topics Include:  Current World Population, Current Government and Economics Statistics, Current Society and Media Statistics, Current Environment Statistics,  Current Food Water and Energy Statistics, and Current Health Statistics.

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Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple

Steve Jobs has officially resigned from Apple.   Jobs picked Tim Cook as his successor.   Apple shares fall after Jobs’ resignation announcement but ended slightly up at the end of the day.  WSJOnline.com has a very complete article about Steve Jobs’ resignation including a slideshow of his life. 

The following from TechCrunch shows his letter of resignation to the board of directors:

steve-jobs1
 

Title says it all. More to come. For now, the letter from Steve Jobs himself:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

Update: Apple has confirmed that Apple COO Tim Cook will replace Jobs as CEO, following Jobs’ own recommendation. Considering that Cook has filled in for Jobs in the times of his medical leaves (including the one he has been on this year), this has been widely expected if and when it came time for Jobs to step down.

Best Apps for Students and Everyone Else

mobile apps

It can be hard to keep up with all of the apps out there. There are over 425,000 apps on Itunes now and that number grows daily.

In the article 48 Apps That College Students Love, they have listed some very important apps.  The apps are broken down the into the following categories:  Essential Tools, Education, Communication, Entertainment, Information Management, Organization, Budget, and News.

This article listed some of my own very favorite apps, including TED, which includes some of the greatest talks from TED.com.

There are also some fun ones like Rate My Professor. Check out Posting Teacher Reviews Online – What is Rate My Professor.

There are a few that I would like to add to the list, though, that I think are awesome apps:

HowStuffWorks – This app has all of their great podcasts including my favorite from Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant of Stuff You Should Know fame.

StitcherRadio – Great way to access multiple ratio stations and more.

GoogleCalendar –  Google’s Calendar is a great way to keep things organized. 

Words with Friends – I like this version better than Scrabble’s and it can connect to Facebook as well.

How to Use QR Codes on Your Resume and Business Cards

QR codes are the latest thing in marketing.  They are in the newspapers, on billboards and on just about every kind of marketing material you can imagine. Now you can utilize this amazing new technology to make your business card and/or resume stand out from the rest.  This is an innovative way to show prospective employers that you are tech savvy.  It also can redirect them to important information on your website that you cannot include in your resume. 

Here is an example of how to put one on your business card. 

Anyone with a smartphone that has an app for reading QR codes can easily point their phone at your card and find out more information about you.  If you don’t have a QR reader app on your phone, they are easy to download from sites like iTunes and they are free.  I use QR Reader for iPhone.  Once you have the app on your phone, open it, and point the phone’s camera at the square on my card.  See how it directs you to a site. 

The QR codes are simple to create.  Check out this article:  how to create your own QR codes.

Here is an example of how to include them on your resume:

 
If you used your reader to scan these codes listed here, you can see they each will send you to a different site.  You may just want to send them to your LinkedIn page or some other website that showcases your abilities.  You could create a presentation in Google Docs or on YouTube that would make you stand out from the crowd.  If you have always felt that you could get that job if only they could see you, now is your chance.  Just be careful to create quality content on the site where you direct potential employers. 

To see QR codes in action, check out this video about how QR codes are changing the way people shop:

Neuromarketing: The Future of Advertising

In Morgan Spurlock’s movie, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, there is a scene where they discuss neuromarketing. Spurlock is put into an MRI machine and shown product images.  The information obtained showed dopamine was released when he looked at images of Coca Cola.  His desire for the product was actually visible on the brain scan. 

What is neuromarketing?  Tech.FAQ defines neuromarketing as, “a field of marketing that involves studying the way people react to marketing techniques and adjusting those techniques to maximize sales and inform the public about a specific product, idea, or campaign. Neuromarketing includes the use of biometric sensors, social studies, and subliminal messaging. While neuromarketing is a relatively new technique, it has been widely implemented in recent years and nearly every marketing agency and medium-large company in the world now uses it.”

Just less than a year ago the question was asked:  Is neuromarketing the future?  AdvertisingAge stated, “Neuromarketing offers a chance to get accurate, factual data about the buying habits of target markets.” However, they also pointed out that, “At the end of the day, neuromarketing is still in its infancy. A technology that is unproven outside of laboratory conditions, prohibitively expensive, and potentially a legal minefield is a technology that requires a lot of capital and a solid brand to experiment with.”

The future may be here sooner than anticipated.  Combining neuroscience and marketing may just be the next big thing available through the use of apps.  ThreeMinds reported, “large companies like Google, Disney, Microsoft and Chevron have already begun to dip their toes in the neuromarketing waters.  And research vendors have responded, recently announcing the availability of portable EEG devices that can wirelessly transmit brain scans to iPads, as well as “full-brain home panels” for original research studies.”

Marketing professionals may be able to use this technology prior to products coming onto market.  Currently researchers from Duke and Emery are studying how products appeal to the human brain

iTunes offers a free series of videos from the University of Warwick about neuromarketing. In these videos, find out how “Cognitive neuroscience has revolutionized our understanding of the consumer’s brain – a fact with huge implications for business and marketing…you will hear from practitioners, clients and academics at the forefront of neuromarketing. Hear how neuroscience is being applied commercially to research and develop new products and services, improve the effectiveness of communications and boost revenue.”

Facebook Making People More Empathetic

Several studies have shown that online communication has facilitated friendships, honesty and sense of belonging.  New research is showing that Facebook time may actually improve people’s empathy as well. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “The more time on Facebook subjects in a recent study spent, the more empathy they said they felt online and off.”

This information may come as a surprise with the number of reported cyber bullying cases. Internet Solutions for Kids reported that 17% of 13- to 18-year-olds were bullied online in the past year. However, this is low compared to the reported 40% in-person bullying.   

Fear of dealing with social settings has led many to online platforms like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Some newer studies have shown that this form of online communication can be helpful for those who are shy or introverted and who may normally find social settings stressful.  The WSJ article noted, “In a study of New York University students who described themselves as either socially anxious or non-anxious, participants were randomly assigned to interact in groups of three, either in-person or through an Internet chat room.  Anxious students reported greatest shyness and discomfort than non-anxious students in face-to-face groups.  In the chat room, however, they said they felt significantly less shy, more comfortable and better accepted by their peers.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported some results at a Washington, DC conference this year from 1,283 people aged 18-30.  This group was asked about their time spent online and its impact on how much empathy they felt toward their online and offline friends.  The participants reported “a significant amount of empathy online, and that the more time college students spent on Facebook, the more empathy they expressed online and in real life.”

Young Adults and Unique Identity Theft Issues

As more people have embraced technology, more opportunities for identity theft have been created.  PC Magazine author Larry Seltzer interviewed a cyber-crimes expert and found that there are some unique new ways that people have their identities stolen.  One of the things that may come as a surprise is that misconfigured peer-to-peer apps like Limewire can share information from your “My Documents” folder. 

While you may be hip to the Nigerian scams, you may not be aware of skimmers on ATMs that can read your credit cards. Seltzer explains, “These are devices which install over the reader appear to be part of the machine. When you insert your card the skimmer reads it and records the information on it. They are often used in combination with surreptitious cameras to record the keys you press for the PIN. Skimmers are especially popular on gas pump, but they are also being used on the smaller point of sale readers found in stores.”

CNN Money reported that the top consumer complaint is identity fraud.  “The Federal Trade Commission counted 250,854 complaints about identity theft in 2010, according to a report issued Tuesday. That was 19% of the 1.3 million total complaints the agency received, putting it at the top of the consumer complaint list for the 11th year in a row. The most common form of identity theft was through fraudulent government documents. Credit card fraud garnered the second highest number of identity theft complaints, followed by phone and utilities fraud.”

Many young adults are going back to school soon.  College students may feel they are invincible and not notice identity theft as quickly as they should.  They are less likely to track their bank accounts and credit card statements.  Mainstreet.com reported, “Studies have shown that it takes 18- to 24-year-old Americans twice as long to find out they’ve been the victim of I.D. fraud – which is usually too late to do anything about it.”

Wells Fargo has come up with tips for college students to safeguard their financial information.

Fraudpreventionunit.org also has listed 10 Tips for an Identity-Theft Free 2011.

Doctors’ Time Running Out To Meet HIPAA 5010 Requirements

Effective January 1, 2012 there will be a new HIPAA 5010 version that will be a required for doctors to use for electronic filing.  If physicians don’t use version 5010 for all HIPAA electronic transactions by that date, their claims will be rejected and they won’t be paid.  Doctors are feeling the pressure to get their systems ready for this change.  Many physican practices have not embraced the electronic age as well as other businesses have and are now behind the eight ball, scrambling to meet these new standards.  

Medcost.com reported, “The purpose of 5010 is to facilitate the country’s ongoing goal of transitioning to an electronic health care environment by updating the current standards for electronic health care and pharmacy transactions. The updated 5010 versions replace the current versions of the standards and will promote greater use of electronic transactions. This change has been driven by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).”

There are some helpful resources to show doctors how to prepare for this transition.  GetReady5010 offers free webinars.  The AMA also has some excellent resources. Despite all of these free offerings, many physicians are not prepared for this change. American Med News reported, “Many physicians have not even begun to see if they are compliant with what are known as HIPAA Version 5010 standards. According to a survey released in March by the Medical Group Management Assn., 56% of practices have not scheduled any internal testing for 5010, and 61% have not scheduled any testing with their major health plans. The survey covered 349 practices with 13,290 doctors.”

What’s new in the HIPAA 5010 version? Some of the changes include: 

  • Physicians must submit a nine-digit, rather than a five-digit, ZIP code
  • Physicians may distinguish between principal diagnosis, admitting diagnosis, external cause of injury and patient reason for visit codes
  • 5010 set will allow for the inclusion of ICD-10 codes

Nextgen.com listed the following frequently asked questions relate to HIPAA 5010 to help understand requirements.  Click on the links for answers to each of the questions. 

  1. What is HIPAA 5010?
  2. Who will need to upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  3. Why must I upgrade to HIPAA 5010?
  4. How is HIPAA 5010 different from HIPAA 4010?
  5. What are the key dates for HIPAA 5010 and what is the deadline for HIPAA 5010 implementation?
  6. What happens if I’m not ready by the compliance deadline?
  7. Is there a chance for a delay in the compliance date?
  8. What do I need to do to prepare for the upgrade to 5010?
  9. If I finish all of this work before the compliance deadline, can I start to use the 5010 transactions?
  10. What provider transactions are implemented with HIPAA 5010?
  11. Where can you obtain the X12 Technical Reports?

Celebrity Doppelgangers and Facial Recognition Fun

The word Doppelganger can be roughly translated as “evil twin”.   In German, doppel means double. Facebook previously instituted “doppelganger week” where everyone could post their celebrity look-alikes as their outgoing picture.  How can you decide which celebrity you resemble the most? MyHeritage.com has a fun little program that can help.  This site lets you upload a picture of yourself to see your celebrity look-alikes.  Don’t be surprised if the results don’t necessarily come back as the same gender.  It’s best to use a picture that shows your face looking straight ahead, without glasses and doesn’t contain anyone else in the shot. 

This site has more facial recognition software applications that are a lot of fun.  Have you ever wondered if you looked more like your mother or your father?  MyHeritage.com can tell you that as well.  The site allows you to enter pictures of you and your parents, and then it analyzes who you resemble most.  Apparently I look 10% more like my mother.

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Importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Anyone who has taken a business course has probably seen the acronym CRM. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to ways of keeping track of interactions with customers.  However, it is much more than that.  Bain.com does a nice job of defining CRM:  “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process companies use to understand their customer groups and respond quickly—and at times, instantly—to shifting customer desires. CRM technology allows firms to collect and manage large amounts of customer data and then carry out strategies based on that information. Data collected through focused CRM initiatives help firms solve specific problems throughout their customer relationship cycle—the chain of activities from the initial targeting of customers to efforts to win them back for more. CRM data also provide companies with important new insights into customers’ needs and behaviors, allowing them to tailor products to targeted customer segments. Information gathered through CRM programs often generates solutions to problems outside a company’s marketing functions, such as supply chain management and new product development.”

Forward-thinking companies must learn to embrace CRM to remain competitive.  An article in BusinessBalls.com pointed out, “The ultimate purpose of CRM, like any organizational initiative, is to increase profit. In the case of CRM this is achieved mainly by providing a better service to your customers than your competitors. CRM not only improves the service to customers though; a good CRM capability will also reduce costs, wastage, and complaints.”

In the business world, Pareto’s Principle is often cited.   This principle states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.   This has been translated to:  companies obtain 80% of their business from 20% of their clients.   As the BusinessBalls.com article pointed out this also means:

  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your turnover
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your profits
  • 20% of customers account for 80% of your service and supply problems

In order to avoid wasting time and energy, relationship building is critical.  To develop these relationships, it is important to have a strong CRM system.  There are plenty of web-based CRMs.  A popular cloud-based CRM is available through Salesforce.com.  This popular system boasts ease of use stating, “Using Salesforce CRM is as easy as buying a book on Amazon.com. That means your employees will actually use it, so it will be a more effective tool for your business.”

Apps are popping up all over to help with CRM.  Salesforce.com has their own that is good for a sales-based industry.  SmallBusinessTrends.com did a nice review of some other top CRM apps that are useful for small businesses.

Top Things You Should Know about Google Plus (Google+)

You may have started to receive emails announcing that you have been added by someone on Google+ and be confused by what that means.  First of all it is important to understand Google+.  SEOdesk includes a nice article explaining what is Google+.  This new system is not unlike the Facebook “Like” feature. 

The author of the SEOdesk article pointed out how Google’s new system works. “A small transparent plus one button will appear near your search results (log into your public Google account first), when you click on it, it should turn blue; this indicates that you have +1’d that particular link, it will appear on a new tab in your account which keeps a record of the various things online that you have +1’d (the plus one tab).” For a more detailed explanation, read the entire article

How can people add you to Google+?  First of all, people can find you to add through a search function.  See how to find people on Google+.  They can then invite people to be friends with them on Google+. How can you protect your information if you don’t want others to see it?  Check out: protecting your Google+ profile information. For more information check out:  guide to working with circles in Google+.   

If you receive a notification that someone has added you to Google+, it may include a statement like:  Don’t know this person? You don’t have to add them back (they’ll just see the stuff you share publicly). If you want to block someone, you can do so by following these instructions on blocking someone on Google+.

Top Apps for 2011

 
 

mobile apps

 

The list of apps that are available for iPads and other tablet devices can sometimes seem staggering.  Entrepreneur.com recently listed their 10 Must-Have Business Apps for 2011.  Most of these apps had to do with productivity.  For a more productivity apps click here.

Hubspot had a more complete article titled The 25 Most Important Mobile Media Apps. This list is nice because it is broken down into financial tools, organizers/time savers, utilities, news/information, shopping, social, and productivity applications.

One application that any mobile device should have is for reading QR codes. For more information about QR codes and their use, click here.

Value of Top Companies

The following is a list of the estimated value of some of the top companies in 2011.  They are listed in order of highest to lowest value.

Apple – TechCrunch recently reported that Apple’s value is now worth as much as Microsoft, HP and Dell combined.  Valued at over $300 billion, Apple continues to grow.  For more specifics, click here:  Apple Value

Microsoft – Recent estimates put Microsoft’s value at about $200 billion.  Skype – Microsoft’s recent purchase assessed Skype’s value at $8.5 billion.

GoogleGoogle’s value has been estimated to be $192 billion as of January, 2011.  For more specifics on this income including Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s net income, click here:  Google ValueYoutube – Recent estimates put Youtube’s value around $1.3 billion.  Google paid $1.6 billion for Youtube in 2006.

FacebookFacebook was valued at $82.9 billion in January and that number continues to grow.

Amazon – In January, it was reported that Facebook passed Amazon’s value.  Amazon still showed a $75.2 billion worth.  For more specifics, click here:  Amazon Value

HP – Recent estimates put HP’s value at about $72.8 billion.

Dell – Recent estimates put Dell’s value at about $29.3 billion.

Groupon – Recent estimates put Groupon’s Value at as much as $25 billion.

Twitter – It is suggested that Twitter’s value is around $7.7 billion.

Linkedin – Recent estimates put LinkedIn’s value at over $4 billion.

The Most Useful Articles about How to Use Twitter

As Twitter grows and develops, so does the need to understand how to use Twitter as an effective marketing tool.  Companies and individuals that still have confusion with understanding hashtags, obtaining followers or how to remove annoying followers, should check out this list of the top Twitter articles:

  • Best Twitter Articles of 2010 – Bloggodown.com gives an exhaustive list of everything you want to know about Twitter. 
  • How to Find Hashtags on Twitter – This article explain hashtags and joining conversations on Twitter.  Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Getting Twitter Followers – Dave Larson from Tweetsmarter.com explains the 6 ways to get Twitter followers including how to build a reputation, self-promotion, becoming a reciprocator, understanding automation, joining following groups, and avoiding spamming.    
  • Deciphering Twitter:   Twictionary Terms can be Very Intwesting – As Twitter grows in popularity, so does the number of terms that are associated with the site. Check out some of the most popularly used Twitter terms.
  • How to Block People on Twitter – One big difference between being on Twitter as compared to being on Facebook is that people can follow you without your consent.  That may lead to some situations that you find to be bothersome, including unsolicited contact or having to sift through a bombardment of tweets on your homepage. 

     According to AssociatedContent.com you can block people on Twitter by:

    • “Log into your Twitter account using your unique username and password. If you use a public computer, do not forget to mark the ‘Do not remember me on this computer option’ to protect your personal info.
    • If the user you wish to block is already following you, go to your ‘Followers’ list. Browse among your connections and click on the personal profile of the unwanted contact. Alternatively, just type the person’s Twitter name on the search box and click on enter.
    • While on the person’s profile, you will see a gear icon on the top center of the screen (next to the ‘Message’ box). Once you click on it, a drop-down menu will reveal the options ‘Mention,’ ‘Block,’ or ‘Report for spam.’
    • Click on ‘Block’ and you have successfully blocked the spammer. Moreover, a box ‘Blocked’ with a red line will appear on the user’s profile replacing the ‘Following’ box.

   What happens later if you decide you blocked someone that you would rather not block?  Check out  how to unblock Twitter followers.  

 

What to Know before Investing in IPOs like LinkedIn or Pandora

Is investing in an initial public offering (IPO) a good idea?  With the recent LinkedIn and Pandora IPOs and talk of future IPOs with Twitter and Facebook, this is a question that many investors may be considering.  Imagine getting in on the ground floor of a giant like Coca-Cola? It might have been a wild ride, but those that hung in there, had a nice payoff.  Joshua Kennon of About.com reported, “A single share of Coca-Cola purchased for $40 at the IPO in 1919, for example, crashed to $19 the following year. Yet, today, that one share, with dividends reinvested, is worth over $5 million.”

Kennon suggests that if you have the stomach for risking your investment, you might want to consider whether the company can grow at a rate high enough to justify its price, whether there are any patents or trademarks to protect the business, whether you’d want to hold onto this stock for 30 years and if it fell by 50% would you have the stomach to handle it?

DailyFinance reported some additional questions to ask before investing in an IPO: (1) Is there an attractive market for the product? (2) Does the company have a significant share of the market? (3) Is the company’s management team experienced? (4) Is the company growing and profitable?

The following list shows some more recent IPO original offering prices compared to their current price (as of July, 2011):

Google Initial Offering Price, 2004:  $85/share

Google Price July, 2011:  $530/share

Pandora Initial Offering Price, June, 2011:  $16/share

Pandora Price July, 2011:  $19/share

LinkedIn Initial Offering Price, May, 2011: $45/share

LinkedIn Price July, 2011:  $98/share

Many employees of companies like Google became wealthy overnight when their companies went IPO. The New York Times article Google’s IPO 5 Years Later stated, “When the offering finally happened, it turned an estimated 1,000 Google employees into millionaires, at least on paper. Since then, many more millionaires have been minted inside the Googleplex, the Web search company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.”

Not all startups have been this successful.  Businesspundit lists the 25 Internet Startups that Bombed Miserably. MSMoney also warned, “Many investors fret they’ll miss the next big thing because they have no access to the IPO market, but study after study has proven that IPOs historically underperform the broader markets.” FIGuide echoed that same sentiment in their article Should You Invest in IPOs, stating that there might be better options.  “A seminal paper published in The Journal of Finance looked at IPOs from 1970 to 1990. During the five years after issuance, investors in these IPOs got average annual returns of only 5%.(1) By contrast, the overall stock market’s average annual return from 1970 to 1990 was more than double that figure, at 10.8%. To put this in perspective, $1,000 invested at 5% for 20 years would have generated $2,653, while $1,000 invested at 10.8% would have generated $7,777, almost three times as much.”

The following chart from triadsecurities.com shows the top U.S. IPO offerings.

Top 10 U.S. IPO Openings

Best

Worst

 

Reality of Being Seen Live on Facebook, Google+ and Facetime

Today Facebook announced its new integration with Skype that will allow video calling and group chatting. Zuckerberg is touting “ease of use” as one of the key benefits of this system. Facebook can now compete with Google+ and their video chat service named Hangout.

The question now becomes, do you really want to have the capability of having people see you? Recently I was having a conversation with my husband on my iPhone using Apple’s Facetime application. As my husband took his iPhone around the office and said, “say hello to so and so”, I realized that as I could see them, they could also see me in my jammies with no makeup, hair up on top of my head and wearing my reading glasses. It wasn’t glamorous.

Many people use these video calling services when they are at home. Do we really want to see what everyone looks like when they first wake up in the morning? As we start opening up our homes to people with our video capabilities, we may also be showcasing things that may be better left unseen. Think about the dirty dishes in the sink or the unmade bed. Now more people than ever will know everyone’s dirty little secrets.

Dot Com is Old News: Meet Dot Music, Dot Coke, Dot NYC and More Domains

ICANN to allow new generic 'dot-brand' domains

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The trusty old Internet addresses we know and love — the .coms, .nets, .orgs — are about to get some new competition.

Read the full article via money.cnn.com

Prezi Presentation about Education That Blows PowerPoint Out of the Water

Prezi is a presentation software similar to Powerpoint.  Check out this very interesting use of Prezi “Future Proof Your Education” from Maria Andersen where she explains “How do you prepare for uncertain career paths where technical knowledge doubles every two years? You pay attention to the skills that surround the content: Interact, Flex, Learn, Explain, Analyze, and Focus.”

Andersen does a nice job of incorporating the “Did You Know?” video into her presentation while showing how to utilize Prezi to its fullest.  Click on the presentation below to find out more about choices and how knowledge and skills can affect career paths.   Particularly fun is the “Little Billy” video showing what happened to Billy and others when they entered the workforce and experienced information overload syndrome.

If you have ever wondered how to make the most out of using Prezi, this presentation can show how to do this.

 

Top 5 Things to Know to be a Successful Entrepreneur

The typical entrepreneurial personality has the drive and ambition for success.  Like anything in life, though, it is always harder to do something the very first time.  This can discourage many new entrepreneurs from taking that initial leap and to start their own business. 

I teach several entrepreneurial courses and have put together some important articles that I recommend to my students.  The following list contains many of these articles and some of the most important things that entrepreneurs should do in order to be successful:

  1. Read Success Stories and Attend Lectures:  An excellent way to be inspired and learn from other entrepreneurs is to read their success stories.  Onlineuniversities.com recently came up with a list of 20 Biographies Every Serious Entrepreneur Should Read.  These books include important success stories from Ben Franklin to Sam Walton.  Another very important article to read is:  50 Excellent Lectures for Small Business Owners.
  2. Learn the Truth About Failure:  Many entrepreneurs are stalled in their pursuit of success due to their fear of failure.  Even some of the most famous entrepreneurs met with failure before success.  To find out more about this, check out:  50 Famous People Who Failed Before Becoming Successful. Also see:  Famous Business Failures: Is it as Gloomy as it Sounds? Also see:  10 Famous Product Failures and the Advertisements That Did Not Sell Them.
  3. Learn the Truth About Finances Required:  Not all entrepreneurs come from wealthy families.  It can be challenging to come up with the funds required to begin a business.  Find out how some very famous entrepreneurs became successful in the article:  Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings.
  4. Learn How Women Have Become Successful Entrepreneurs:  Some very successful entrepreneurs have been women.  Check out:  Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women.
  5. Learn How to Network:  One of the best ways to get a product or company known is through social media.  Part of an entrepreneur’s success is through finding their customers and their niche.  Check out:  5 Top Networking Tips for Small Businesses.

Once an entrepreneur has developed a strong idea of the direction they want to take, they need to work on their feasibility study.  Investors will want to see this to be sure that their idea is sound. Another important aspect of creating their new business is deciding on a vision and mission statement.  Check out The Top 10 Mission Statements in 2011. Once an entrepreneur has received enough funds to get their new business off the ground, they may want to consider whether or not to go IPO.  Many companies like Facebook have waited and not gone this traditional route.  Find out Why Companies Are Not Going IPO due to fear of the past dot com crash.

Top Universities Increasing Online Degrees Programs to Meet Needs of over 5 Million Learners

Arizona State University is just one of many major universities that have started to increase the number of online courses they offer.  Within the next decade, ASU expects that 25% of their students will be exclusively taking virtual classes.  ASU and other schools are keeping up with their learners’ desire to take online courses. 

The Sloan Consortium, also known as Sloan-C, is an institutional and professional organization integrating online education into mainstream education.   The consortium is committed to quality online education.  The Arizona Republic reported, “According to an annual Sloan Survey of Online Learning at 2,500 colleges and universities, 29 percent of students took at least one course online in fall 2009, up from nearly 12 percent in fall 2003.”

In a recent webinar I created and delivered for Sloan-C, there was strong interest by educators to learn how to deliver effective online courses. There is no mistaking the popularity of online education. Even Bill Gates praised online learning in his 2010 Annual Letter stating, “A lot of people, including me, think this is the next place where the internet will surprise people in how it can improve things.” According to a recent survey by the Sloan Consortium, more than 5.6 million students took an online class last fall, which translates to about 30 percent of college students.

The days of thinking that online education is somehow inferior is changing.  Arizona’s three main universities are all embracing online learning.  ASU is ramping up their online program. University of Arizona (U of A) has nearly 30 degree programs exclusively available online; many of these programs are graduate-level.  Northern Arizona University (NAU) has 63 exclusively online programs and anticipates a 10% growth increase per year.

Arizona universities are not the only major universities to get on board with online education. Some other very prominent universities that also offer online courses include:   

If you or someone you know is considering taking an online class, it is important to understand the terminology, the process and the tricks to being successful as an independent learner.  For help, check out:  The Online Student’s User Manual:  Everything You Need to Know to be a Successful Online Student

Generation of Haters Hiding Behind Social Media Anonymity

Image via Cyberbullyprotection.net

We’ve all seen the areas on Youtube, blogs, and other news areas where people make their anonymous comments about the topic at hand.  It has become very easy for people to make comments that they might not otherwise have made should they have had to have their name or face associated with their remarks.  Many comments are made by children under 18 and some of those comments may be just dismissed as immature.  However, as more news stories surface about children killing themselves from cyber-bullying, there is growing concern about society accepting this kind of behavior.  (For 11 facts about cyber-bullying click here). Cyberbullyingprotection.net reported that 75% of students have visited websites that bashed other students.

Many blogs, including this one, allow screening of posts before allowing them to be exposed.  This is useful to avoid the deluge of spam that comes across from people trying to sell their unsolicited products.  However, it can be reassuring to know that “haters” can’t just post anything they want.

Why are there so many angry people out there that want to write negative comments?  Part of the issue that these people have, other than immaturity, is a lack of emotional intelligence (EI).  Emotional intelligence may be defined in many ways.  One of the easiest ways to think about it is to define emotional intelligence as the ability to understand one’s own emotions as well as those in others.  People who write these posts have little consideration of the feeling of others.  This shows a lack of interpersonal skills.

It brings forth a question as to whether any specific demographic has more issues with emotional intelligence than others.  Rueven Bar-On, creator of the EQ-i emotional intelligence test, found that his model, “reveals that older people are more emotionally and socially intelligent than younger people, females are more aware of emotions than males while the latter are more adept at managing emotions than the former, and that there are no significant differences in emotional-social intelligence between the various ethnic groups that have been examined in North America.”

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved. Authors like Marcia Hughes and others have written several helpful books about how to increase levels of EI.  Author and psychiatrist John Gottman discussed helping our children’s emotional development in his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.  Some of the things Gottman suggests are to:

  • Listen to our children with empathy.
  • Help your children name their feelings.
  • Validate your child’s emotions.
  • Turn their tantrums into teaching tools.
  • Use conflicts to teach problem-solving.
  • Set an example by remaining calm.

By helping our children develop emotional intelligence, perhaps we can see a future of less “haters” and cyber-bullies making anonymous hurtful comments.

Cyber Bullying and Social Media
Created by: Online Counseling Degrees

 

Using QR Codes to Get a Job or Promote Your Business

You probably have seen QR codes and don’t even realize it.  Perhaps they were on a marketing ad or a flyer someone handed you.  You might have seen them on a promotional piece or on a poster at a local store.  It may have looked so under-stated that you probably passed right by it and didn’t give it a second thought.

Start looking for them.  You’ll be surprised at how many places are using them.  What are they?  Think of them like a bar code that lists a lot more information and can direct you to specific websites.  Companies are creating these codes to be used with smartphone apps.  This is an example code that I created for my book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality:

It’s really simple to make one.  You can go to a site like Qurify.com and type in the information you want to be encoded.  It may be something as simple as a website address.  You can go to the Qurify site and type in your website URL address. If you don’t have a website, consider putting in your Linkedin profile page.   Click on the Qurify button and then download the image it creates as a jpeg file.  Now you can take this file and put it on your business cards, on your resume, or on any other information you create. 

Anyone who has a QR Reader app on their phone can simply start the app on their phone and point it at your code.  When they do that, they will be directed on their phone to the URL address you entered on Qurify.  It couldn’t be easier. 

This can really make you stand out from the rest in the job search.  Just having that code on your resume will make those that don’t know what it is, look into it why it is on your resume.  For those that do know what it is, they will appreciate how technologically you savvy are.

If you have your own business and want to promote different parts of your website, these can be useful as well.  To show examples, I created several of these QR codes for Dr. Robert Spies’ plastic surgery site.  To see how they work, first download a free QR Reader app onto your smartphone.  Then open that app and point it at the codes listed below.

This code directs you to information about facelifts:

This code directs you to information about tummy tucks:

 This code directs you to information about breast augmentation:

 By having different QR codes like this, you can customize your marketing material to direct people to the appropriate websites.  For companies like a plastic surgery practice, this can be a very effective tool to target people that have a strong enough financial background to own a smartphone as well as those that are interested enough to point their phone at the code for more information.  It is a great tool to specifically target the appropriate population. 

To find out more about how these codes work, check out information from the guys at how stuff works technology podcast. 

Marketers Target Impatient Customers through Smartphone Quick Response QR Codes

 

Quick Response or QR codes are the latest bar code system that allows customers to use their smartphones to obtain discounts, gather information and even order products ahead of time so that they are ready upon their arrival.  For an instant gratification generation, these new codes can connect customers to products faster than ever before.

Companies are putting these codes in their advertisements and on their products so that customers can scan them with their smartphones and gather more information, find out about discounts or even order the product.  Although these codes aren’t that new, companies are starting to use them more due to the increased frequency of consumers using smartphones. 

It’s simple to install an app on a phone. In fact some even come with the app pre-installed.  Wall Street Journal reported, “Scanby Inc., a New York company that develops and manages QR codes, estimates that 30 million people in the U.S. have a code-reader app on their phone.”

Companies like Ethical Bean are taking advantage of the code to get their coffee products into their customers’ hands more quickly.  Customers simply need to order their coffee through the use of these apps and it will be ready when they arrive to pick it up. 

These apps can also give more information about the products being purchased.  Customers can find out recipes, ingredients and more.  The Wall Street Journal had some statistics about the use of these codes:

  • 32% of consumers in a recent survey said they’ve used a QR code
  • 70% plan to use QR code again or for the first time
  • 53% are motivated to use it by getting a coupon, discount or deal
  • 52% are motivated to use it by getting more information

Linkedin Going IPO: Concerns of Its Value Being 200 Times Its Earnings

 

On Thursday Linkedin will have the ticker symbol of LNKD.  Linkedin is finally going to become an Initial Public Offering or IPO.  Becoming an IPO means it will be a publically-traded company.  In this case, the company has the hope of raising $274 million.  

IPO’s have been of concern recently as companies are being valued at far higher levels than they are returning.  If Linkedin is able to price their stock in $32-35 range, that would make their value just over $3 billion.  According to the Wall Street Journal, that is “nearly 200 times last year’s earnings of $15.4 million.”  

Many companies have been using venture caplitists to fund them until they can go IPO like Linkedin.   However, the dot com crash has had a big impact on how venture capitalists invest in the current market. To understand why, it is important to know a little history about the impact of the Internet and why these investors are leery. For more information about fear of IPOs and over-valued companies, click here.

How to Find Hashtags on Twitter

 

Hashtags are a popular way to start up a conversation about a specific topic within Twitter.  By putting the # sign before a subject, it creates a conversation that others can join.  For example, if I wanted to tweet about plastic surgery, I could include #plasticsurgery within my tweet and it would list my comment on the discussion being held within Twitter about that topic.   As you can imagine, a recent popular hashtag topic was #royalwedding

The challenge comes with finding all of the conversations you would like to join.  One site that is helpful is called What the TrendMediabistro.com reported, “What the Trend shows you the top hashtag and non-hashtag trending topics. It lists the 10 top trending phrases at any given moment on Twitter, along with a short description of each. Just underneath the written description is how long ago this phrase started trending, and when it received its description. What the Trend also shows you the top trending topics in several geographic areas. You can also view all of the trends from the past 24 hours, and sort by verified trends, explained trends and much more.”

Trendistic is another site that can tell you just how popular a hashtag is on Twitter.  If you type in the hashtag phrase into their search, it can tell you not only the most recent conversations about that phrase but also how active it has been for the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, 90 days and 180 days. The site also gives embedding information so that you can put their charts on your blog or website.  Check out the right side of the main Trendistic site to see a list of the top trending topics.

Microsoft Buys Skype

NEW YORK — Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the popular Internet telephone service Skype SA for $8.5 billion in the biggest deal in the software maker’s 36-year history.

Buying Skype gives Microsoft access to a user base of about 170 million people who log in to Skype every month, using the Internet and Skype usernames as a complement to the traditional phone network and its phone numbers.

For the rest of the article see: huffingtonpost.com
 
 

Pharmaceutical Representative Jobs Being Replaced by Computers

Ask anyone about a pharmaceutical sales job and you are likely to hear something good about it.  People have this conception of the job being glamorous, well-paid and well-respected.  It can be glamorous working in a sales division of a large manufacturing company.  There may be company cars, plenty of perks, some traveling and even entertainment at events.  In my years in pharmaceutical sales, my company paid big bucks at meetings bringing in high end entertainers including:  Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Kenny Loggins, Martina McBride, Danny Gans, Harry Anderson, Larry Miller, Huey Lewis and many more.

Those days of big spending on the sales force are changing.  In fact, the drug makers are not only cutting back on entertaining their sales force, they are actually getting rid of them, replacing them with digital tools.  Wall Street Journal reported, “Tens of thousands of pharmaceutical sales reps have been eliminated in the U.S., creating a void that drug makers are now increasingly filling with websites, iPad apps and other digital tools to interact with doctors who prescribe their treatments.”

I was going on my 20th year at AstraZeneca when I quit in 2002.  When I first started with the pharmaceutical division of the company in 1987, sales reps didn’t even have computers.  Notes about conversations with doctors were handwritten.  A sales rep was given certain zip codes as their territory and they had a lot of control over their day and how they interacted with doctors. The plan was to call on each doctor once a month and explain the products.

Fast forward to the early 2000s and by that time, the reps all had handheld computers.  Instead of one representative calling on the doctors once a month, sometimes there were 5-10 representatives all calling on the same doctor with the same message every month.  Somewhere along the way, big pharma management decided that if the doctor heard a message two times, they were more likely to remember it.  That changed to 3 times, 4 times and so on until they hired so many representatives per doctor that when I left, these poor doctors had to listen to the same message delivered to them at least twice a week. 

It turned doctors off to the idea of a pharmaceutical sales representative calling on them.  Many of them became “no see” doctors which meant they would no longer allow representatives to call on them.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “In 2009, one of every five doctors in the U.S. was what the industry calls a “no see,” … Just a year later, that jumped to one in four.”

Before I left AstraZeneca, they were already beginning to work on some computer-based sales presentations.  Doctors were not really catching onto that idea a decade ago, but the digital market has become much more popular since then.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “AstraZeneca set up a digital marketing group in 2009 and substantially ramped up its work last year, says John McCarthy, vice president of commercial strategy and operations in the U.S. The group, which is primarily focused on marketing to health-care providers as opposed to consumers, created “AZ Touchpoints,” a website doctors can use to ask questions, order free samples and ask about insurance coverage. The site also contains brochures and other “educational materials” that doctors can print out.”

What does this mean for the pharmaceutical sales representative job?  “Last year, AstraZeneca said it planned to eliminate 10,400 jobs by 2014, including thousands of sales positions in Western markets. The company said the cuts, amounting to about 16% of its work force, would help it save $1.9 billion a year by 2014.” 

Looks like I left at the right time . . .

Fear of Past Dot Com Crash: Venture Capitalists Only Interested in Consumer-Targeted Companies like Facebook or Groupon

 

The dot com crash has had a big impact on how venture capitalists invest in the current market. To understand why, it is important to know a little history about the impact of the Internet and why these investors are leery.

The Internet became commercially popular in the mid-1990s.  By 1995, there was an estimated 18 million users on the net.  This led to the creation of online businesses which led to speculation about how big these companies could grow.  The problem came with how much these companies were actually worth vs. how much they were perceived to be worth. 

What causes a bubble and eventual crash?  When people get excited about a company stock, it can drive the price up but if it inflates to an unrealistic point where investors get wise to the fact that the company can’t be worth as much as they hoped, people bail, sell the stocks, the price drops, and the company crashes. 

The pain of those dot com crashes are still felt today.  Venture capitalists now may be more hesitant to invest.  Tom Abate with SFGate.com said that venture capitalists in 2000 made about 8000 investments valued at $100.5 million.  “In 1999 and 2000, Wall Street invested in 534 venture-backed initial public offerings.” Those, who cashed in early, made a lot of money.  As large amounts of money were being put into the market and speculation was growing, the bubble was forming.  NASDAQ hit its peak on March 10, 2000 at 513252, only to lose 78% of its value by October, 2002 when it dropped to 11411.

In 2001-2002 while a lot of companies were over-valued and going bankrupt, people found their stock purchases were not such a great investment.  So now when Facebook and Twitter are considering going IPO it has some potential investors concerned.  This is especially true in the case of Twitter that has yet to publically show their business plan. 

What has the effect been on venture capitalists investing?  An article in Investopedia stated, “In the year 1999, there were 457 IPOs, most of which were internet and technology related. Of those 457 IPOs, 117 doubled in price on the first day of trading. In 2001 the number of IPOs dwindled to 76, and none of them doubled on the first day of trading.” SFGate.com reported, “In 2008 and 2009, a total of just 18 venture-backed companies went public.”

Investments have picked up for the consumer-oriented companies like Facebook and Groupon.  However there has been a venture squeeze for companies with business products.  Wall Street Journal reported, “In the first three months of this year, venture-capital investment in consumer tech companies nearly tripled to $874 million from $310 million a year earlier. Meanwhile, investments in tech firms with business products rose at a slower rate to $2.3 billion from $1.9 billion a year earlier.  The shift away from business-oriented technology start-ups has been gathering steam over the past few years. Venture investment into such companies was $11.9 billion in 2010, down 35% from $18.4 billion in 2006, according to VentureSource. The overall number of financing rounds these companies received also dropped 18% to 1,261 during that time.”

Photoshop Creating a Reverse Dorian Gray Syndrome: Our Pictures Don’t Age But We Do

A recent Photoshopped picture of Duchess Catherine aka Kate Middleton caught my attention.  For some reason, the folks at Grazia decided that Kate’s already extraordinarily tiny waste wasn’t quite tiny enough, so they Photoshopped it to unnatural and humanly unattainable dimensions.

Photoshop has been used to make people look better in their pictures than they may look in real life.  This process has created what can be considered a reverse Dorian Gray Syndrome.  For those of you unfamiliar with Dorian Gray, it is a story by Oliver Wilde where a young man was so obsessed with remaining youthful that he was willing to sell his soul for it.  The deal he makes ensures that a portrait created of him would age but he would not. 

Today’s photographers commonly Photoshop our pictures to make us look better.  The photo used on this site has had some work done to it.  In fact, we are so used to seeing Photoshopped pictures that when we see the actual person in real life, it can be a letdown. 

Is Photoshop making us have unrealistic expectations of what we should look like?  Many people see these pictures and believe that Middleton’s12-inch waste is possible.  How much Photoshopping is too much?  Are we a reverse Dorian Gray society where we show up looking old and weathered while our picture remains perfect?  It’s not just Hollywood or rag magazines doing this.  I have known a  lot of people who have posted less than accurate pictures of themselves on dating sites.   This eventually has to catch up with us.  I imagine there has been a few surprised customers who eagerly awaited to see their date, only to find that they don’t quite get what they expected.

Inspired by One Tweet: Quakebook’s Creation is Helping Japan Raise Money

 

An expatriate in Japan, Our Man in Abiko, sent out a call with a single Tweet to social media contributors that eventually led to the creation of an e-book called Quakebook.  “The idea was to share the stories and experiences of people actually on the ground during the earthquake,” claims Quakebook.org. “In just four weeks, the 2:46 Quakebook project has turned an idea first voiced in a single tweet, into a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by individuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it.”

Quakebook is available on Amazon for $9.99.  Amazon stated the intentions of the editor who created the book, “is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the price you pay (net of VAT, sales and other taxes) goes to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. ”

The book has the title 2:46 Quakebook because it begins by showing the effects at 2 minutes and 46 seconds after the quake hit.  There are over 30,000 words of accounts and over 200 people who have chipped in for this project.  This whole project was completely volunteer-oriented and the e-book became available in only one month after the disaster.  Quakebookorg stated, “The contributions in 2:46 Aftershocks have come from a wide variety of sources, and include photographs, personal accounts, drawings; each telling their own tale.”

Click here to read some excerpts from 2:46 Quakebook:  Aftershocks Stories from the Japan Earthquake. To follow on Twitter, check out #Quakebook.

How to Teach Online Classes

I’m testing doing some radio podcasts.  This initial show has issues with the music in the first few seconds but it is just a test . . . Anyone interested in learning how to teach online courses may want to listen to this for helpful information though. Click on the picture to hear the podcast or click here.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

Listen to internet radio with DianeHamilton on Blog Talk Radio

Importance of Facebook Like Button: Millennials and Women Likely to Hop On

Businesses are increasing their presence on Facebook in hopes that users will pick the “Like” button about their company, product or service.  This is becoming today’s “word of mouth” through technology. 

A research brief from the Center for Media Research claims, “Apparently a consumer approval on social media trumps other messages when people want to show their support for local businesses. Leading ways that users show support are:

•75% of people tell their friends

•20% of people say they “Like” it on Facebook to show their support, compared with only 13% who write a review

•Millennials and women are even more likely to hop on Facebook

•40% of people under 35 “Like” a business; 49% in the 18-24 group, versus 18% who said they would write a review

•25% of women hit the “Like” button, versus 11% who write reviews”

This does not mean that Facebook will capture all business.  “The study also showed:

•52% of adults under 35 visit more than two websites before checking out a local business

•63% of respondents under 35 head to Google

•24% visit Facebook;

•21% look at reviews sites and

•17% clicked on the first link on the search results page

•8% of people said a deal is the number one thing that influences them to try a local business”

Facebook and Twitter Getting Free Advertising through Redirection

Have you noticed lately how many companies post somewhere in their advertisement that they have a Facebook or Twitter page?  Perhaps you have seen wording like:  “Follow Us on Facebook” or “Follow Us on Twitter”.  Imagine if your company was mentioned like that on everyone else’s advertisements and you didn’t have to pay for that.   

This is something that is new in the advertising world.  In the past, you would see companies listing their websites to direct their business to their own companies.  They still do this, of course, but now they are also directing business to Facebook and Twitter to get people to come to their website indirectly. This redirection may have implications on web analytics, making it more difficult to know how many customers are seeing the company’s message.  However, the advantages for using sites like Facebook for advertising can be significant.  Tnooz.com reported, “With one in every 13 people on the planet using Facebook, the potential exposure that Facebook advertising offers can be massive, costing a fraction of what a TV advertising campaign might cost.”

This redirection of business is something that is growing.  It can be easier to get people to go to Facebook or Twitter initially due to their popularity.  Sites like bit.ly allow links to be shortened and more information to be included in a tweeted message.  This can also be useful for redirection to mobile devices.  Webupon.com reported, “Facebook and Twitter are two of the most user-friendly sites on the mobile web – and that’s great news for those who are going mobile with their websites, because it means people can right-click on bit.ly links in Twitter – and be automatically taken to a mobile version of your site, if they’re accessing it from Twitter.”

Sites like Facebook are helping increase what used to be called word of mouth advertising by allowing people to pick “I like” on a product page.  Trendwatching.com refers to the F-Factor involved here, meaning Friends, Fans and Followers on Facebook who can influence purchasing decisions. Check out an article by Converge2003.com that suggests there are 10 tactics to increase your number of Facebook likes.   For more information about adding a Facebook Like Button to your site, click here.

Companies Like BMW Using Apps to Gather Data as Part of Product Marketing Research

Companies like BMW have created a new way to gather information as part of their research for product marketing.  BMW recently has a new app, Evolve, that will allow drives to track their driving habits to see how compatible they would be should they drive a battery-powered vehicle.

Product research is a big part of the marketing process.  In marketing classes, one of the basic things a student learns about is the product life cycle.  Products go through the following stages:  Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline.  In the introductory phase, companies seek to gain product recognition through product, pricing, distribution and promotion. 

Image via QuickMBA.com

What is unique about the BMW app situation is that they are learning about consumer behavior to incorporate that knowledge into the products they will offer later.  BMW will have a new electric vehicle called i3.  By gathering this information about drivers and their behaviors, the data can help the company know more about interest in their vehicle.  BMW will also be using social media to get customers to encourage their friends by sharing their driving experiences. 

Wall Street Journal reported, “BMW says its taking its buzz-creating efforts a step further, by integrating what it gleans from them into the marketing and development of the i3 and other electric cars. Smartphone users who download BMW’s new app, for instance, can feed their driving statistics into a main website that shows them how they and their fuel-savings compare with other drivers. BMW plans to collect the anonymous data on users’ driving patterns to inform the design of its mass-market electric cars.”

Millennials Actually Utilizing LinkedIn Rather Than Just Having an Inactive Profile

Linkedin has a lot of people with profiles. Quantcast reports “Linkedin has 21.4 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 47.6 million globally.” However, that doesn’t mean they are all taking advantage of the site.  Dynamic Business reported, “According to the 2010 LinkedIn Career Trends Research, a staggering 60 percent of professionals surveyed on LinkedIn do not use social media channels when it comes to advancing their careers – despite 87 percent believing an online profile will help their professional identity and career progression. This mirrors results for business adoption of social media, with only 28 percent of small businesses surveyed using social media despite a similar number believing it would help their business.”

That may be changing.  The day of looking for a job in the classified section has gone. Millennials are moving away from newspaper ads.  SMH reported results from I Love Rewards and Experience Inc. that showed, “28 per cent say they will use LinkedIn to find a job, compared with 7 percent the previous year. Newspaper ads are moving in the opposite direction with 28 per cent saying they would turn to newspapers, compared with 34 per cent for the previous year.”

Millennials have been shown to have unique expectations in the working world.  Mashable reported more information from this study showed, “Millenials about to hit the workforce don’t care what size company they work for and that 64% of them plan to stay at their new job for two to five years. Another 24.1% say they plan to stay with their employer for more than 10 years. However, the average tenure for millennials is actually 1.5 years, according to the Department of Labor.”

The chart below shows how respondents plan to apply to jobs.

Google and Facebook April Fool’s Day Jokes

On April Fool’s Day the Internet is full of contributors trying to play on our gullibility.  Facebook has its share of people listing today as their birthday or reporting unusual updates.  The following is Google’s attempt at playing the game:

Facebook Depression: Report of How Social Networking Can Affect Our Youth

 

A report released today (March 28, 2011) by the American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with a syndrome they call Facebook Depression.  This report is titled:  Clinical Report—the Impact of Social Media on  Children, Adolescents, and Families.  Although Facebook allows people to remain in contact with friends and develop relationships, there can also be a downside.  MyHealthNewsDaily reported, “heavy use of Facebook, as well as other risks of the online world such as cyber bullying and sexting, can have serious consequences, so it’s critical for parents to stay involved in their children’s lives.”

This is not the first time social media has and its impact on young adults has been studied.  Livescience explained, “A big chunk of kids’ social development now takes place in the online world, according to the report. A study released in February 2010 found that 70 percent of wired American teens and young adults use social networking sites. A 2009 poll conducted by Common Sense Media found that more than half of teens use a social networking site more than once a day.”

The good is that there are some “benefits of children and adolescents using social media including:

  • Opportunities for community engagement through raising money for charity and volunteering for local events, including political and philanthropic events
  • Enhancement of individual and collective creativity through development and sharing of artistic and musical endeavors
  • Growth of ideas from the creation of blogs, podcasts, videos, and gaming sites
  • Expansion of one’s online connections through shared interests to include others from more diverse backgrounds (such communication is an important step for all adolescents and affords the opportunity for respect, tolerance, and increased discourse about personal and global issues)
  • Fostering of one’s individual identity and unique social skills–Enhanced Learning Opportunities”

For the complete report click here.

Japan Breach Danger Increases: Explanation of What This Means

There is a lot of fear of radiation due to the nuclear reactor damage in Japan’s recent earthquake.  Many people fear what could happen should the facility not be able to be kept under control.  AOLNews reported an update today claiming, “Two weeks after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a crisis at a nuclear plant, the facility is still not under control, and the government said Friday there is a suspected breach at a reactor. That means radioactive contamination at the plant is more serious than once thought.”

Just the words Nuclear Meltdown can bring panic.  The podcast “Stuff You Should Know” with Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant includes an excellent explanation of how nuclear meltdowns work.  An interesting thing they point out in that podcast is that the earthquake was not as damaging as the tsunami that followed.  For a written explanation of How Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Works, click here.

Google, Twitter and YouTube Helping Japanese Earthquake Survivors Find Loved Ones and Shelter

Google’s person find is an online tool dedicated to helping Japanese earthquake survivors find their loved ones.  This tool was developed after the 2010 earthquake in Chile and was used in the New Zealand earthquake as well. Bloomberg reported, “The Google Person Finder service, which collects information about people’s locations and their safety status, is intended to help users find out if their friends and families are safe,” Visit the Google Person Finder 2011 Earthquake site here.

Google reported, “Searching the Internet on sites such as Google, Twitter and their local variants has become more effective in finding loved ones than sifting through wreckage following Japan’s devastating tsunami.”

Youtube has also set up a channel to help victims communicate.  This channel contains messages to help survivors find shelters and others affected by the earthquake. 

Blog Overload: Who Has Time to Read it All?

 

There is no question that the blogosphere is growing.  According to webdesignerdepot “WordPress has statistics for both WordPress.com (15.1 million blogs and counting) and self-hosted WordPress installations (17.4 million active installations), which gives part of the picture. There are more than 10 million tumblogs on Tumblr. Blogger doesn’t offer any public statistics on how many blogs they host. Technorati is currently tracking more than 1.2 million blogs. And there are likely millions of other blogs out there hosted on other services like Movable Type, TypePad, Expression Engine, and other CMSs.”

There is no shortage of blog search engines to find blogs that contain information of interest. There are also lots of articles by sites like Forbes and others who occasionally list their idea of top blogging sites.  Google and Google News features can be incorporated into an iGoogle page, and can be another way to keep up with topics to follow. 

With all of this information out there, who has time to read it all?  Bloggers know it can be good form to make comments on others’ blogs.  However, finding the time to not only read these blogs but formulate insightful comments may be difficult. Even if people find a good blog to follow and subscribe to their RSS feed, as sites continue to be added to the feed, the feed reader may have more information than people have time to visit. 

There has been speculation about when blogging popularity will die down.  The latest discussion is whether Facebook will replace blogging and company websites.  Cnet reported, “Even if Facebook doesn’t somehow supplant lots of Web sites, though, there’s no denying the social network is becoming more important to marketing, and it’s adapting to the idea.

With technology constantly changing, people may find it difficult to keep up with it all.  To get an idea of just how many blogs and how much information is out there, check out the following graph:

 

Ever wondered how many blogs are there on internet?how big is the blogosphere‘. How much revenue is generated from blogs? what are the key demographics for the blogging publishers? and what are the languages used used online? This Infographics is an answer to these questions.
state_of_the_blogosphere
 

 

The Rise of Mobile Access: New Pew Research

 

With the release of the new iPad, there is an increasing focus on how people obtain their information.  According to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, nearly half (47%) of all U.S. adults get at least some local news and information on their phone or tablet.

There were some interesting statistics from the Pew Report. 

  • More Hispanics than Whites obtained their news from mobile devices. 
  • The less affluent (12%) were nearly as likely to get their information this way as the more affluent (19%).
  • Only 7% of US adults owned a tablet.
  • People with children were more likely to use mobile devices to obtain news.

For the complete Pew report, click here.

Bloggers and Social Media Junkies: 5 Tips to Improve Your Writing

Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What are some things I can do to improve my blogging and writing skills?

The Internet has turned lot of people into writers.  Bloggers and social media junkies may have great ideas to share but may lack some writing skills that could help improve the message they want to convey.  I know I make a lot of mistakes when I write.  I try not to, but when you blog as much as I do, it is inevitable.  I never intended to be a writer.  However, I found that I liked sharing information, so writing became a means to an end.  When I write my books, I use a professional editor.  Not all of us can be editing experts. It could be very expensive and inconvenient to have to use an editor for every blog and social media posting.  However, there are some simple things that can help to improve writing skills. 

1.  Don’t End Sentences in Prepositions. The problem is that many people have no idea what a preposition is.  Susan Thurman, author of The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, claims there is a trick to helping recognize a preposition.  “Look at the last eight letters of the word preposition; they spell position.  A preposition sometimes tells the position of something:  in, out, under, over, above and so forth.”  My seventh grade teacher suggested we think about a box.  For example:  in the box, over the box, and so forth. The following are the most common prepositions according to Thurman.  Try to avoid ending a sentence with any of these words:

  • About
  • Above
  • Across
  • After
  • Against
  • Along
  • Among
  • Around
  • At
  • Before
  • Behind
  • Below
  • Beneath
  • Beside
  • Between
  • Beyond
  • But
  • By
  • Concerning
  • Despite
  • Down
  • During
  • Except
  • For
  • From
  • In
  • Inside
  • Into
  • Like
  • Of
  • Off
  • On
  • Onto
  • Out
  • Outside
  • Over
  • Past
  • Since
  • Through
  • Throughout
  • To
  • Toward
  • Under
  • Underneath
  • Until
  • Up
  • Upon
  • With
  • Within
  • Without

2.   Learn to Spell without Spell Check. If you rely too much on a spell checker, you may find that words you meant to write are replaced with words that have entirely different meanings.  I can’t count how many times that a student has sent me a note saying to “please excuse the incontinence”.   It is best if you take the time to learn to spell correctly so that you don’t have to rely on a device that may change your intended meaning. The following are fifty of the most commonly misspelled words according to author Gary Provost of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:

  • Acceptable
  • Apology
  • Appetite
  • Architect
  • Assassinate
  • Autumn
  • Calendar
  • Changeable
  • Conscious
  • Correspondence
  • Criticism
  • Deceive
  • Discernible
  • Embarrass
  • Eminent
  • Existence
  • Fascinate
  • Grateful
  • Hygiene
  • Imaginable
  • Immediately
  • Irrelevant
  • Jewelry
  • Judgment
  • Lovable
  • Miscellaneous
  • Mischievous
  • Mortgage
  • Necessarily
  • Occasionally
  • Occurrence
  • Omission
  • Orchestra
  • Potatoes
  • Professor
  • Pseudonym
  • Quarrelsome
  • Religious
  • Reservoir
  • Rhythmic
  • Scissors
  • Syllable
  • Tragedy
  • Umbrella
  • Vanilla
  • Vengeance
  • Weird
  • Wholesome
  • Youthful
  • Zealot

3.  Vary your sentence length.  Some of my students like to write in either really long run-on sentences or overly short monotonous sentences.  Try to vary your sentence length.  Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph was longer and more complex.  That was followed by a shorter more succinct sentence.  It makes your writing easier to read if you vary the sentence length and mix it up a bit. 

4.  Ask yourself some questions once you have finished your draft.  Does the initial paragraph let the reader know what your paper, blog or article is going to contain?  Do you have needless repetition of ideas?  Is your tone and tense consistent?  Does one paragraph advance to the next in a smooth fashion?  Does each of your paragraphs contain a topic sentence that conveys the thought you have developed throughout that paragraph? 

5.  Work on expanding your vocabulary.  Rather than learning overly complicated words to express what you want to say, try varying the way that you say things by using a thesaurus.  If you are talking about a house, perhaps refer to that house as a dwelling or a building in the next sentence.  If you find that you are using the same word over and over, check out some alternatives words in a thesaurus to add dimension to your writing.

I know I am guilty of making some of these mistakes.  Through practice, we can all improve our skills. 

Top 50 Venture-Funded Companies for 2011

The Wall Street Journal had a couple of very interesting articles about start-up companies and their ability to obtain funding.  The following list of top 50 venture-funded companies for 2011 came from one of those articles.  Of particular interest to me was the ease that some young entrepreneurs are finding in terms of ways to obtain capital, should their startups be technology-based.  Everyone is looking to get in on the next Facebook or Google.  Entrepreneur Aaron Levie, 26, was able to raise $48 million in less than 3 weeks for Box.net, his online storage company.  Check out what WSJ.com claims are the top 50 start ups for 2011 below:

Rank Company Name Location Industry Why It’s Hot 2010 Rank Total Equity Raised in Millions
1 Castlight Health Inc. San Francisco Health Care As consumers pay more of their health-care bills, Castlight lifts the veil on medical costs. 14 $81.00
2 Xirrus Inc. Thousand Oaks, Calif. Information Technology Founder Dirk Gates previously took another start-up, Xircom, public and then sold it to Intel. 9 $80.25
3 Xactly Corp. San Jose, Calif. Business and Financial Services Xactly’s partners include Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce.com, which invested last June.   $69.00
4 Recycle Rewards Inc. New York Business and Financial Services Recyclebank is expanding internationally and currently operates in 29 states. 25 $73.35
5 ExteNet Systems Inc. Lisle, Ill. Information Technology ExteNet raised $128 million in a January 2010 round led by George Soros’s investment firm.   $191.90
6 Cyan Optics Inc. Petaluma, Calif. Information Technology CEO Michael Hatfield previously founded Calix Networks, which held an IPO last year.   $90.83
7 Aster Data Systems Inc. San Carlos, Calif. Information Technology Aster helps companies analyze data to understand customer behavior and detect fraud.   $47.00
8 Glam Media Inc. Brisbane, Calif. Consumer Services Glam’s sites attract 198 million monthly visitors world-wide. 13 $154.20
9 Carrier IQ Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Information Technology The software sits on 140 million devices world-wide, providing data to Sprint and Vodafone.   $48.00
10 Imperva Inc. Redwood Shores, Calif. Information Technology CEO Shlomo Kramer co-founded one of Israel’s largest tech companies, Check Point Software.   $54.00
11 Vidyo Inc. Hackensack, N.J. Information Technology Vidyo powers Google Chat and bundles its software on Hewlett-Packard PCs. 35 $61.19
12 Etsy Inc. Brooklyn, N.Y. Consumer Services It’s profitable and in August it estimated 2010 revenue of $30 million to $50 million.   $51.25
13 RGB Networks Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology RGB acquired mobile-video rival RipCode in June.   $119.00
14 IronKey Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology Founder and Chairman David Jevans helped develop Apple’s Internet strategy.   $50.30
15 Appia Inc. Durham, N.C. Information Technology Appia is moving to build app marketplaces for the likes of AT&T and Samsung.   $18.25
16 The Active Network Inc. San Diego Business and Financial Services Having raised at least $275 million, Active has made numerous acquisitions.   $272.44
17 Nimble Storage Inc. San Jose, Calif. Information Technology Nimble has built an appliance that provides primary and backup storage in one box.   $24.27
18 PatientSafe Solutions Inc. San Diego Health Care After raising $30 million in February, PatientSafe completed and launched its iPod Touch system.   $71.50
19 Glaukos Corp. Laguna Hills, Calif. Health Care Glaukos is developing a new medical-device treatment for open-angle glaucoma.   $117.55
20 Fusion-io Inc. Salt Lake City Information Technology Executive team boasts Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. 2 $111.50
21 Achaogen Inc. South San Francisco, Calif. Health Care Has support from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.   $103.00
22 NeuroPace Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Health Care Filed for approval of a system to monitor and stop epileptic seizures. 12 $130.30
23 Xoom Corp. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Two large, undisclosed public equities firms led its last $33 million round.   $81.44
24 Workday Inc. Pleasanton, Calif. Business and Financial Services The latest effort from Dave Duffield is challenging his earlier creation, PeopleSoft. 16 $110.00
25 SpiderCloud Wireless Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Information Technology Helps carriers meet the growing demand for mobile broadband on corporate campuses.   $54.10
26 Jive Software Inc. Palo Alto, Calif. Information Technology Financed by Google backers Kleiner and Sequoia, Jive Software brings social-networking tools to big business.   $57.57
27 Federated Media Publishing San Francisco Consumer Services Federated Media has made three acquisitions since August to bulk up its advertising and publishing network.   $57.25
28 Boku Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services CEO Mark Britto previously led Ingenio to an acquisition by AT&T and Accept.com to Amazon.   $38.00
29 Zoosk Inc. San Francisco Consumer Services The “social” online-dating company has more than 15 million active monthy users. 42 $40.10
30 EndoGastric Solutions Inc. Redmond, Wash. Health Care With $120 million total raised, EndoGastric is pushing to profitability.   $128.68
31 Chegg Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Consumer Services Chegg recently acquired two firms to expand into other student services. 32 $166.20
32 Everyday Health Inc. New York Consumer Services Everyday Health’s sites host 26.5 million visitors a month. In January, it partnered with AOL.   $77.20
33 Xsigo Systems Inc. San Jose, Calif. Business and Financial Services Xsigo’s board of directors includes Veritas Software’s Mark Leslie and HP’s chairman Ray Lane.   $60.00
34 Soasta Inc. Mountain View, Calif. Information Technology Soasta tests the mettle of online services prior to launch by simulating heavy traffic. 36 $21.05
35 Rally Software Development Corp. Boulder, Colo. Information Technology Rally was named the sixth best place to work in the U.S. by Outside magazine last year.   $49.25
36 Prosper Marketplace Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Prosper leveraged the credit crisis to build a service matching lenders and borrowers.   $54.24
37 Pivot3 Inc. Houston Information Technology It says bookings doubled each of the last four years.   $78.00
38 Suniva Inc. Norcross, Ga. Energy and Utilities One of the only start-up solar-cell makers in the U.S. that’s enjoying rising demand. 15 $130.50
39 Veracyte Inc. South San Francisco, Calif. Health Care Developing minimally invasive molecular tests to provide earlier cancer diagnoses.   $49.00
40 ExactTarget Inc. Indianapolis Business and Financial Services Exact Target scrapped an IPO in 2009 and has bought three companies in 17 months.   $155.50
41 OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. Redwood City, Calif. Health Care OncoMed has shown an ability to attack cancer stem cells, which resist traditional chemotherapy.   $168.02
42 ExaGrid Systems Inc. Westborough, Mass. Information Technology ExaGrid’s technology is similar to that of Data Domain, the subject of a $2.2 billion EMC-NetApp bidding war.   $78.10
43 SeeSaw Networks Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Founder Monte Zweben previously founded Blue Martini Software and Red Pepper.   $19.59
44 Silver Peak Systems Inc. Santa Clara, Calif. Information Technology Silver Peak is growing quickly and taking on larger rival Riverbed Technology. 20 $59.80
45 Zilliant Inc. Austin, Texas Information Technology Zilliant uses scientific data to maximize profits by fine-tuning pricing.   $62.47
46 Yammer Inc. San Francisco Business and Financial Services Called “Facebook for business,” Yammer has been embraced by employees at large companies.   $40.00
47 Bivio Networks Inc. Pleasanton, Calif. Information Technology Its government contracts helped it navigate the recession better than most.   $78.30
48 TxVia Inc. New York Business and Financial Services CEO Anil Aggarwal has a decade of experience running electronic-payments firms.   $51.50
49 Service-now.com Inc. Del Mar, Calif. Information Technology Founder and CEO Fred Luddy was CTO of Peregrine Systems and Remedy. Former Documentum CEO Jeff Miller and Proflowers.com CEO Bill Strauss became directors last year. 45 $54.86
50 Aprius Inc. Sunnyvale, Calif. Information Technology Cofounder Peter Kirkpatrick hails from Intel and CEO Varun Nagaraj led NetContinuum.   $31.00

Source:Dow Jones VentureSource

5 Top Networking Tips for Small Businesses

 

Entrepreneurs are often looking for ways to promote their new businesses.  On March 18, the local YOB (Your Own Business) Fair will be a place where Arizona business owners can go to find out tips to help them promote their business.  I will have a booth there and I hope you will join me.  In the meantime, please check out some of the top networking tips that small businesses should be considering in order to succeed: 

  1. Find out where your customers are and connect to them through social networking.  It is important to network with as many people as you can, but remember to try and focus on those that have connections.  Spend some time looking through contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter to see who your friends and contacts know.  Get into groups on sites like LinkedIn and start threads about topics that would be of interest to people you’d like to target as customers.  Become an expert in the Q&A area on LinkedIn as well.  Create Facebook pages for your company and products.  Link your sites together so that your updates get posted to all of your social networking sites.  If you don’t know where to begin to learn how to social network, check out letsgetsocial.com for a reasonably priced series of videos to show you how to become social-networking savvy.  If you have the funds, you could hire a social media expert to do it for you.
  2. Give people something so that they will want to come to your site.  If you aren’t on Youtube, you need to be.  Create several short (3-4 minute) videos offering people something for free and post them on Youtube.  End your video with a link to your landing page to have them sign up for a free newsletter or some other free item.  This will allow you to capture their email address and get them on your mailing list in a legitimate way.  The videos do not have to be fancy.  A simple video camera can create all you need.  You can also make a PowerPoint presentation and then overlay it with Camtasia so that your file has your voice and presentation without necessarily having to have a video of your face if that makes you more comfortable.  You can upload the file to Youtube and also link to it from your website and/or blog. 
  3. Ask for word of mouth.  One of the best ways to get noticed is to have people talk about your business.  If you aren’t asking your satisfied customers to tell other people about you, then you are missing the boat.  Happy customers are usually more than willing to tell others about you if you ask them to do so.  Many just haven’t considered it until it is brought up.  Ask people if they know people who could use your service.  If they do, ask them if they will tell people about you and give them your cards or flyers to give to these people. Remember to ask people to do things based on assessing their level of comfort.  Part of connecting with others is to understand individual personalities
  4. Keep records of contacts you make.  If you have a software package like ACT! or Outlook, you can keep notes there.  Keep a record of everyone you meet and make notes about everything you know about them.  Every time you meet someone new, find out something about them that you can write down into your file and bring up later.   If you can figure out their birthday from Facebook, always send them a note saying “happy birthday”.  Find reasons to stay in contact.  Put notes into your calendar reminding yourself to drop a note, asking if the baby was born yet or how the wedding went.  Showing an interest in people draws them closer to you.  Avoid promoting your products and yourself in all outgoing messages.  Make it be about them or give them information that helps them and makes them want to come back to you.    
  5. Be a resource or mentor.  Find ways to offer your services for free to others and it will bring people back to you later.  On LinkedIn, you can answer questions in the Q&A room to help others and get recognized.  Join local groups and volunteer to do things to become noticed.  People remember kindness and are more willing to give out your name to others if they associate you with good things. 

Geminoid-DK: Professor’s Robotic Duplicate Creepy or Cool?

geminoid dk

 

I’ve had a few professors in my day that made me question their abilities.  However, I always assumed they were human.  There is now at least one professor out there that isn’t.  Technology has advanced to a point where identical versions of people can be created.  A professor in Denmark has taken advantage of that.  Techland.time.com reported, “in conjunction with Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark, has created a robotic version of the associate professor that looks identical to him. If it weren’t enough that the robot looked exactly like Scharfe, it also mimics the professor’s shrugs and facial expressions.”

This particular robot will be used to study human interaction with robots to study emotional affordances.  This robot is called a geminoid. According to CNews.net, “Geminoids are basically remote-controlled slave robots powered by a quiet air servo system. They mimic the facial expressions, lip movements, and body motions of a human user through motion-tracking gear and an Internet link.”  A motion-capture system follows an individual’s head movements and expressions.  If the operator moves their mouth, the geminoid does the same.

For some more really interesting pictures of geminoids, check out Spectrum’s article.

Google Adsense No Longer On Facebook

 

According to geek.com:  There are many advertising companies on the Internet all wanting to offer developers and website owners the opportunity to generate revenue from ads on their sites and services. By far and away the largest and most well-known is Google AdSense, which Google counts as its biggest revenue stream.

Until recently AdSense was allowed on Facebook, meaning any developer wanting to support a Facebook app with adverts could use Google. However, that is no longer the case, and AdSense has been effectively banned from the social network.

In order to be listed as an advertising provider on Facebook, companies has to sign up for the Facebook Platform Terms of Advertising Providers and agree to Facebook’s policies. The deadline for getting on to that list was February 28, and as of today AdSense is not on the list.

To read the complete story go to: geek.com

Who Really Owns Facebook? Zuckerberg, Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic or Bono?

There was a lot of talk in January about Goldman Sachs buying shares of Facebook. Now General Atlantic’s investment in Facebook is adding to the $65 billion dollar estimated value of the company.  According to Hyperbot, the answer to the question of who really owns Facebook may surprise you. “in addition to Mark Zuckerberg, his Facebook employees and some venture capitalists is at least one Russian investment firm.”  It may also be interesting to note that Bono is actually mentioned on the investor list. 

image from static.businessinsider.com

Deciphering Twitter: Twictionary Terms Can Be Very Intwesting

As Twitter grows in popularity, so does the number of terms that are associated with the site.  For example some of the popular terms you may hear are:

Hash Tag:  A number sign # followed by a key word indicates this is a category that people are tweeting about.  For example, if you see #Jobs, click on it and it will bring you to a page of everyone talking about that subject of jobs.

ReTweet:  If you see RT that stands for retweet which means to pass along someone else’s original tweet. 

This is just the beginning of some of the terms coined since the creation of the site.  Twitter has a glossary of terms where more definitions may be found.  For 102 Twitter Terms Phrases and Slang, check out Webopedia.com.   For a more complete list, describing who coined and defined Twitter terms, check out Twictionary.pworks.com’s list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image via: Google

Related Articles

Is Facebook and Twitter Keeping You Out of College or Helping You Get In?

Employers often use Google or other online research sites to find out about prospective job applicants. If there is embarrassing or incriminating information out there, it may not just be prospective employers that find it. 

Universities are also performing online searches on prospective students. According to Latimes, “College admissions officials look up applicants on Facebook and Twitter, experts say. Details revealed through social media can make or break a good impression.”

Keep in mind, social media can be a way to have employers and universities find out good things about you as well.  In the Latimes article the editor of StudentAdvisor “suggests following the school’s Twitter feed or “liking” its Facebook fan page. Students also can post a video resume on YouTube or blog about volunteering efforts or other extracurricular activities and provide a link on their applications.”

For more information, check out the Online Reputation Guide

Online Reputation Guide for College-Bound Students

Google Using Cloud to Share Microsoft Files

Many networkers have found that Google Docs has been a great way to share information on Linkedin.  Now Google is adding some more useful ways to use Google Docs to share Microsoft documents.  WSJ.com reported, “Google plans to formally introduce the new Google tool, called Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, later this week after releasing it to early testers in November. The company says it takes Office files, uploads them to Google’s servers and gives them a unique Web address so they and can be accessed through Google Docs from any Internet-connected device. The files can also be accessed from within Office.”

With this new service, files will be on the “cloud” and can be shared by multiple people.  This new Google Connect feature will only be available for Windows users.  The Inquirer reported, “Google’s Cloud Connect is a shrewd move, giving the firm the chance to present existing users of Microsoft Office with the benefits of its free, cloud based office suite. The firm admitted the move is intended to “help bring more people to the cloud” and this could be just the carrot needed to help users get off Microsoft’s software.”

For more about Google Docs and how to utilize their free service to import presentations into Linkedin, click here.

Amazon Takes on Netflix Offering Movie Subscriptions

Those interested in immediate gratification have made Netflix a popular choice for movie viewing.  Amazon has now taken on the challenge of competing with Netflix.  Amazon’s “Prime” subscription program costs $79/year which includes their 2-day shipping on purchases.  Prime also includes more than 5,000 video-streaming movies and television shows.  Most of what they offer includes older television seasons and movies.

Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” program costs $7.99 a month and video-streams over 20,000 titles.  This brings their price to over $95/year.  Many of their movies are newer, but their TV shows consistent of previous seasons.  

Amazon is entering this market in hope of increasing their digital business.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “The streaming-video offering could lead customers to buy or rent the 90,000 movies and shows that Amazon already offers on an a la carte basis.” 

In an effort to compete, Netflix has entered into a two-year deal with CBS to provide television shows.  WSJ reported, “Netflix will pay CBS hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the nonexclusive, two-year licensing pact, which gives CBS the option to extend it for up to two years and add more content in return for higher compensation.” 

How will this affect the cable and satellite industry’s relationship with TV networks?  That is something that TV executives must consider as more than $30 billion a year comes to networks from subscriptions. 

Netflix is no stranger to competition.  Netflix’s competition with Itunes, led to their removing limits for streaming of video. PCworld reported, “Previously the amount of streaming content subscribers could access was dependent on their subscription level. For example, the $16.99 membership allowed for 17 hours of streaming movie content. With the new unlimited plan, all subscription levels, with the exception of the lowest $4.99 plan, will be able to stream as many Netflix movies and TV shows as they’d like to their PCs.”

Itunes has been tough to beat in movie downloads.  As Forbes pointed out, “ITunes already dominates the world of movie downloads. In 2010 the service accounted for 64.5% of all movie downloads and rentals.”

Zynga’s Farmville and Mafia Wars: Annoying You All The Way To The Bank

 

Are you tired of getting Farmville or Mafia Wars requests on Facebook?  The popularity of those requests may be annoying but they may also be indicative of a company’s success.  In this case, that company is Zynga.  This San Francisco-based company could raise as much as $500 million in preparation for an IPO next year.  That could bump their value to $10 billion.

NYDailyNews reported, “Zynga, which is said to be in negotiations with mutual fund giants T.Rowe Price and Fidelity Investments, currently has more than 50 apps and games. CityVille, which debuted in November, lets users create and control a virtual metropolis by buying and selling goods and materials with other Facebook users. It has 95 million monthly users and is the most popular game on Facebook. FarmVille, in which users build a virtual farm, is second with 51 million monthly users. Zynga, which also makes app versions of its more popular games for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, is said to be developing a new website, Zynga Live, that would be separate from Facebook and let gamers compete and interact with other users.”

Zynga’s mission statement is “to connect people through games.”  Founded in 2007 by Mark Pincus, Zynga was named after his bulldog.  They currently employ over 1300 people and boast to have over 50 million daily active viewers and over 215 million monthly active users.  Their Zynga.org has used income from their games to “benefit earthquake victims in Haiti and to fund school lunch programs for children in Haiti.”

What’s next for Zynga?  Check out the following video for more:

Top Branding Failures

 

Companies are always looking for that next Old Spice campaign that will become viral on YouTube and get people talking.  Effective branding is crucial for a company’s success.  The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

Branding needs to be credible and motivate buyers.  According to MarketingAbout.com, “It’s important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It’s a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without.”

There have been many marketing blunders when advertising has missed the mark.  Bschool.com lists what they consider to be the 10 Most Ill-Advised Ads of All Time.  Remember those singing Quiznos rodents?  Some of us wish we could forget.  Check out the top 10 list by clicking here.

LinkedIn Advertising Effectiveness in Question When Majority of Members Don’t Visit Site

LinkedIn recently filed paperwork for their IPO.  Within their application, they noted, “… a substantial majority of our members do not visit our website on a monthly basis, and a substantial majority of our page views are generated by a minority of our members.” This brings up an important question about the effectiveness of advertising on Linkedin. 

LinkedIn boasts of having over 90 million members in over 200 countries as well as being the most extensive network for professionals.  This may be the case, but if their members are not logging into their site regularly, advertisers may see this as a big problem.  So far, ad revenue has not been a major contributor to their financial success.  According to bnet.com, “Ad revenue is 32 percent of Linkedin’s entire business. The bulk of its money comes from subscriptions and “hiring solutions” for recruiters.”

LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing Solutions, Steve Patrizi told ClickZ.com that they are developing their ad offerings.  When asked what type of advertisers are utilizing LinkedIn, Patrizi stated, “Our advertisers tend to be in industries like banking/finance, technology, travel but we’re also seeing automotive and education advertisers coming on board.”

Who is signing into LinkedIn? According to socialmediatoday.com, “more males (57%) are users and the distribution of the age groups reflects the working world.  Interestingly, while LinkedIn still has more users over 54 years old (15%), this is a 7% drop from the 1st quarter.  That is offset by an 8% jump of the 24-34 year old users in the last six months.”

InMaps from Linkedin: Map Your Social Connections If You Can Get It To Work

Have you ever wondered what your network actually looks like?  With Linkedin InMaps, they claim you can get a map of colors to show your connections and how they inter-relate.  Colors represent groups within your professional connections.  It’s a way to see how you know people and visualize relationships.

It sounded very interesting so I thought I’d check it out.  I was unable to view InMaps through Explorer or AOL.  It suggested using Google’s Chrome or Firefox but it never worked with those applications either.  It just gives a never-ending processing swirl on the page.  I was curious if it had to do with Windows 7 so I tried it on my Mac with no luck either. Granted, I have a lot of connections on Linkedin, but the processing swirl never stopped. 

Perhaps they are just having problems with the site that will resolve.  If anyone has had good or bad things to say about InMaps, I’d be curious to hear about it.

Social Networking Could Leave You Open to Attack: How to Protect Yourself

As the popularity of networking sites grows, so does the opportunity for social networkers to experience problems.  There are some safeguards people can put into place to protect themselves. 

By now, obvious things like not mentioning you are going out of town, posting how much you make, or listing overly private information, have hopefully sunk in, teaching people to post more safely.  However, there are a lot of other less obvious mistakes that many social networkers make.  Before you post that picture on your Facebook that people can download and save for later, you might want to think about where it will end up in the long run. 

An article from Creston News Advisor has some safety recommendations including avoiding accepting pop-ups, not providing confidential personal data, restricting what you do on Wi-Fi, not auto-saving passwords, and checking out the privacy information on each social networking site.  For their complete list of safety tips, click here.

Google and Facebook Looking At Twitter: Could Twitter’s $10 Billion Buzz Value Lead to $100 Billion?

[TWITTER]

Facebook and Google are just some of the companies that are looking at the possibilities of acquiring Twitter. There is a lot of buzz and tweeting going on about the value of Twitter. WJS.com reported, “Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion. A Twitter spokesman declined to comment on its finances, valuations and interest by other companies. Google and Facebook also declined to comment.”

If Twitter is considering being acquired by either company, not only are they not admitting to it, but they are also working hard on building their team of executives. This makes it appear that they are working to build a strong independent company. There are reports that Twitter’s size could reach $100 billion.

The Future of Apple and Facebook: What Happens When Genius Leaders Pass the Torch?

With the recent absence of Steve Jobs, there is a lot of discussion about the future of Apple should he leave the company.  There have been examples of problems with successful companies when their founders or leaders step down. 

A classic example is the problem that Starbucks faced when Howard Schultz left.  As Starbucks became seen as too generic, he came back to rescue to the company. 

Do leaders like Jobs, Gates and others have a cult-like status?  According to Newsweek, “Michael Dell has cautioned about the importance of the founder not creating a religion around himself or herself—and he takes practical steps to avoid that. Dell says he works to make other stars visible with an institutionalized review process that exposes up-and-comers to the board of directors.”

Can companies like Facebook live without Zuckerberg?  Some companies have managed to survive without their visionary leaders and some have not fared as well. Some examples of the impact of leaders leaving include:

McDonald’s – Ray Kroc empowered his franchisees to be successful.

Disney – Walt Disney didn’t do as good of a job finding a successor. After two decades, the company did recover.

Walmart – Sam Walton  and his ideas have made Walmart still a dominating force today.

Visionaries have created some highly successful companies.  The key may be to have replacement leaders that are visionaries in their own right.  They will never be the founders but they may offer their own unique spin.

For now, the Jobs and Zuckerbergs of the world are showing us that there are shining star examples for people to emulate.  According to Newsweek, “we must realize that founders are not like the rest of us. We are so much better off with these creative brains than without them. After all, Sigmund Freud observed that society is changed by its discontents—the iconoclasts who challenge the status quo. They are more narrowly focused than many of us on an entrepreneurial dream, they have talents most of us lack, and they make superhuman sacrifices that benefit us all.”

Job Seekers: The Demand is in Apps so Consider Learning HTML5

This year will be about tablets and apps.  For those looking for a job right now, there are plenty of companies including Google who are looking for app experts. 

Apps are everywhere these days.  Look at iPhones, Androids, iPads and such and you’ll see plenty of little mobile programs that are the fasting growing thing out there.  Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are just a few of those fun little games that people are playing.  Not all apps are games.  Many are used for productivity. 

It has become a very competitive field out there with Google, Itunes, Facebook and other companies expanding in the area of apps.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “World-wide, revenue from mobile apps is expected to triple this year to $15.1 billion, including paid downloads and advertising revenue generated by free apps, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Besides the potential of making money directly from such creations, more and better apps can help devices powered by Google’s Android operating system continue to gain ground on Apple’s iPhones and iPads.”

[GOOGAPP]

Because of the popularity of apps, Google is taking this very seriously and is in the market to hire app experts.  For more about this, check out the Wall Street Journal article that reported,“Google executives in October said the company was on track to generate $1 billion a year in mobile-related revenue, though it declined to provide a breakdown of the revenue sources. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., last week said it planned to hire more than 6,000 employees this year, and a spokesman said mobile would continue to be an important area for the company.”

The increase in jobs is great if people have the skills.  What is required to get a job creating apps?  The applicant must have strong HTML5 skills.  The number of job listings that include the words HTML5 or apps is increasing.  Tech. professionals looking for jobs may want to check out Dice.com.  This job board lists opportunities for people with high tech skills. 

[JOBSKILLS]

Gainful Employment Rule: Effect on For-Profit Schools and Graduation Rates

 

For-profit education is beginning to feel the squeeze.  July 2, 2012 marks the day that the U.S. Department of Education rule goes into effect.  This rule restricts students from using government aid to pay for schooling that doesn’t include occupations that have a strong entry-level salary.  

This isn’t the only issue that for-profits are facing.  A loophole has been close that would allow schools to financially reward admission counselors for enrolling students.  This is one of the reasons enrollment is down at some of the major for-profit universities.  This has also led these universities to increase tuition to cover their losses. 

The programs that are considered not high paying enough to meet the Gainful Employment rule will be shut down.  The New York Times reported that accounts for only about 5% of these schools’ programs. What happens to the students already enrolled in them? The Arizona Republic reported  that they are allowed to continue with the program under the “teach out” rule.

Many for-profit universities are implementing new programs to help face their new challenges including:  orientation programs to improve retention, trying to bolster brand awareness, and finding ways to comply with the July deadline to meet the Gainful Employment Rule. 

Many of the guidelines that are changing now are to protect students and to be sure that they are graduating with degrees that will be worth their expense. Politics Daily reported that a study completed by the Committee of Health Labor Education and Pensions found “94.4 percent of students attending for-profit schools take out loans, compared to 16.6 percent attending community college and 44.3 percent enrolled in traditional four-year public schools. Much of that money comes from federal Pell Grants, which help low-income applicants attend schools of higher education, but is often never returned if they don’t graduate.”

It is important that students are able to complete their programs, not only to pay back the loans, but to move ahead in their careers.  The New York Times claimed, The report, “Subprime Opportunity,” by the Education Trust, found that in 2008, only 22 percent of the first-time, full-time bachelor’s degree students at for-profit colleges over all graduate within six years, compared with 55 percent at public institutions and 65 percent at private nonprofit colleges.

For now, for-profit colleges are making some needed changes. The Arizona Republic reported that Peter Wahlstrom of Morningsar, who tracks major for-profit education companies, stated, “What you are trying to do is create a solid program based on academic quality, which, in turn, helps with student outcomes. That helps with retention, that helps with enrollment, and that eventually helps with financial results.”

Is Frankenstein Possible? Growing Human Blood Vessels and Artificial Organs

 

image via google.com

Micromasony, or the ability to use cells for building artificial organs is something MIT researchers have been working on for some time.  Now there has been a new breakthrough where scientists have found they can actually take lab-grown tissue to grow its own blood vessels. Teams have implanted new vessels into mice cornea and confirmed new capillary growth. To see a video of this actual growth, check out a link by Popsci by clicking here.

If we can take cells and turn them into artificial organs, use tissue to grow blood vessels, is a Frankenstein type creature next?  Actually lightning bolts do have some place in this discussion.  According to Popsci “Lightning bolts may not bring Frankenstein to life, but their blood vessel-like patterns could form the foundation for artificial organs. Now researchers at Texas A&M University hope that those pretty feathery patterns could find a use, channeling bodily fluids through artificial organs. Discovery News reports that the lighting-carved tunnels resemble veins and arteries near the spot where nails are driven into the blocks, while the patterns deeper within the block appear more like smaller capillaries.”

LinkedIn IPO May Be Sooner Than You Think

LinkedIn has already completed the first step in the IPO process.  With over 90 million members in over 200 countries and an estimated worth of $2 billion, its growth is undeniable. All Things Digital reported, “LinkedIn, the online business networking site, is likely to file regulatory documents for an initial public offering as early as today, according to sources close to the situation.”

Linkedin may not be the only big name going IPO soon.  According to All Things Digital, “LinkedIn’s entry into the public market is one that many expect will be followed by other Internet firms in the coming year, including Zynga, Chegg and, most anticipated of all, Facebook.”

LinkedIn Ads to Target its 90 Million Members Prior to IPO

With over 90 million members, LinkedIn has the attention of advertisers.  With the release of LinkedIn Ads, individuals and groups can be targeted, with a reported click-through rate that is 3-4 times higher than other campaigns. 

MediaPost reported, “LinkedIn Wednesday formally launched its pay-per-click, self-serve ad system after being in beta since 2008. Rebranded as LinkedIn Ads, the text-advertising service formerly known as DirectAds mainly expands audience targeting options to include job title, LinkedIn groups and companies. Previously, the platform offered several targeting choices such as age, gender, geography, job function and seniority.”

Linked-IN

 

LinkedIn Ads is about focus and reaching the target demographic.  Advertisers can spend as little as $10/day, but they must use a credit card to pay unless they spend over $3000/month for 2 months in a row.

This new advertising comes prior to their IPO, to possibly sweeten the offer.  Media Post claims, “The company plans to file for an IPO in the first quarter, according to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month. LinkedIn had estimated revenue of $200 million in 2010 and online market SharesPost has reported that the company has an implied valuation of $2.2 billion.”

LinkedIn is one of several rumored IPOs due to come out this year. For more information, check out Top Social Media Sites IPO.

CryoPreservation: Having Your Brain Preserved After You Die

Ted Williams help to bring to light cryogenics and the procedure of freezing a human head.  While preserving parts of us after we die may seem bazaar, there may be some things we can learn from brain preservation. 

According to the Brain Preservation Organization, “Due to a series of recent scientific developments, human beings may soon have an inexpensive and reliable way to preserve their brains, including the molecular features that give rise to their memories and identities, in room-temperature storage after they die. This technology is called plastination (chemopreservation), or chemical fixation and embedding in plastic, and is a distant cousin of the process seen in such exhibits as Body Worlds. Today, “perfect” plastination is routinely done for very small amounts of brain tissue (one millimeter cubed), and soon it will be attempted for whole animal and human brains. Cryopreservation (involving very low temperature storage) is another, more expensive process that also deserves to be carefully evaluated for its ability to preserve the critical structures of our brains. Today, leading-edge neuroscience is identifying the synaptic structures that store and generate our unique memories and identity, and new imaging techniques are allowing us to verify when these special structures have been successfully preserved, starting with general synaptic connectivity all the way to the signal states of individual brain proteins.”

This organization is even offering a prize of $106,000 to those teams that can actually preserve a large animal brain.  Their hope is to preserve the human wisdom and diversity that dies with us along with our brains. 

As one might guess, not everyone is thrilled with this idea.  For those with objections to such a project, this site has created a page for overcoming objections

Their mission is to, “promote scientific research and services development in the field of whole brain preservation for long-term static storage. Through outreach to appropriate scientific communities, online activities, presentations and articles, directed research grants, challenge prizes, and other methods, we seek to explore the scientific hypothesis of whether a reliable surgical procedure exists that is capable of preserving the precise neural circuitry of the human brain at nanometer scale.”

For those interested in reading more about cryopreservation, chemical preservation or scanning and circuit mapping click here for more information.

Are Humans Getting Dumber as Our Brains are Shrinking?

Did you know that our brains are actually shrinking? NPR.org reported, “Cro-Magnon man, who lived in Europe 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, had the biggest brains of any human species.  In comparison, today’s human brain is about 10 percent smaller.”

The human brain is still an enigma is many respects.  Are there differences in the human brain that cause people like Einstein to achieve so much?  Studies were completed on Einstein’s brain and they actually found he had some differences.  There is speculation that due to the way that Einstein’s brain was missing a part of a bordering region, that this enabled neurons to communicate more efficiently.  

With all of the technological inventions, one might think that people should be getting smarter. However, in the NPR article, this decreasing in brain size may have a negative impact, “The experts aren’t sure about the implications of this evolutionary trend.  Some think it might be a dumbing-down process. One cognitive scientist, David Geary, argues that as human society grows increasingly complex, individuals don’t need to be as intelligent in order to survive and reproduce.” 

If this is true, the movie Idiocracy may be foreshadowing some frightening possibilities.  The movie displays what life would be like if people continue on their current path of finding entertainment in reality shows, tattooing, partying and enjoying other less than useful activities.  This movie seemed to play off of studies done by Lentz in 1927 that claimed the intelligent people were having fewer children than the less intelligent people.  This would lead to a society of less intelligent people.  The Examiner claims Lentz’s work has merit, stating “This conjecture has been confirmed by studies like that of Hernstein and Murray (1994), who demonstrated that in the U.S. females with an average IQ of 111 had 1.6 children, whereas females with an average IQ of 81 had 2.6 children.”

The Examiner claims that there is hope for improvements, though, due to something called the Flynn effect. “Even if genotypic IQ is heading towards a decline across the world, there is still phenotypic intelligence that has increased over the last few generations. This phenomenon, also known as Flynn effect, is attributable to advancements in nutrition, education, and a more intellectually stimulating environment. The Flynn effect has led to gains of 7.5 IQ points a generation, much greater than .43 IQ points decline in genotypic IQ.”
There is something called Spearman’s g that refers to one’s general intelligence that was postulated in 1904 by Charles Spearman.  g, written in lower case like, now refers to general intelligence. A neuroscientist named John Duncan explained Spearman’s work in his book How Intelligence Happens.  The Wall Street Journal explained, “Mr. Duncan makes a convincing case that these brain areas constitute a special circuit that is crucial for both Spearman’s “g” and for intelligent behavior more generally. But his book elides the question of whether this circuit is also the source of IQ differences. That is, do people who score high on IQ tests use the frontal and parietal areas of their brains differently from people who score lower? The answer, discovered by other researchers, turns out to be yes.”

It appears that our brains are decreasing in size, more people with lower IQ scores are having children, but we can increase our education and nutrition.  We can also learn more about how our frontal and parietal areas can be improved.  There is hope that we are not necessarily headed for an Idiocracy-like future.

Quora Confusion: How to Navigate This New Social Media Site

image via google.com

Quora is a social media site created by former Facebook employees.  It is designed to be an interactive question and answer site.  It appears to me to be like the Q&A section on LinkedIn where someone can ask a question and receive an answer in a more sophisticated way than a simple Yahoo Answers response.  Unlike Yahoo Answers, users must be a member of the site to view the discussions.  

I have received several notifications that people were following me recently on Quora, so I decided to give it another look yesterday.  Interestingly, this morning, the Wall Street Journal did a piece on Quora.  I was a bit relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only one who finds the site to be a bit confusing.  According to the WSJ article, “The site lacks instructions on how to use it; people just have to figure it out as they go. For example, a newcomer might not know that Quora answers can be voted up or down by seeing two tiny triangles that appear beside each answer. If I select the up triangle, this indicates I voted for that answer, and news of this vote is shared on the Quora home page of anyone who follows me. A number beside each answer indicates how many votes it has received so far. But unless you’ve used the site for a while, you wouldn’t know any of this.”

I like the Q&A section in LinkedIn and I think Quora has some possibilities.  I will have to give it another try.  I recommend reading the article in the Wall Street Journal to learn more about Quora and how to navigate within the site by clicking here

For now, I have answered questions on Quora including one titled: How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent?  If you are on Quora and want to see my response to that question click here.

50 Excellent Lectures for the Small Business Owner

 

Many are now just completing their MBA or considering starting their own small business. There is a great article from BSchool that includes 50 excellent lectures about entrepreneurship, practical tips, innovation, leadership, technology and the economy.  The courses come from sources like the University of California through UCTV.  The one I first watched was an hour long and had four accomplished entrepreneurs discuss the excitement and challenges of starting a business. It offered an insight into what to expect as a new entrepreneur and pitfalls to avoid. 

These are excellent lectures. To see the complete article, go to BSchool’s link by clicking here.  Bschool.com is an online resource for MBA programs and top
online business schools. They provide thorough information on MBA subjects, specialty MBAs and business school rankings.    

To see the the types of lectures, I have included an excerpt from the  bschool.com article:

Entrepreneurship

These lectures tackle topics in entrepreneurship, from appealing to the consumer to making great pitches.

  1. Entrepreneurs: Four entrepreneurs share their journeys to open a new business, and the talks inspire passion and excitement.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Society: This talk from UCTV is led by Tom Kemp, President and CEO of Centrify Corporation. He talks about what new ventures need in order to effectively appeal to the modern-day consumer.
  3. Women Entrepreneurs: Consider the differences between men and women as business leaders and owners.
  4. Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship: President Obama gives a talk to an international audience on entrepreneurship and realizing the American dream.
  5. Entrepreneurs: Then and Now: Guy Kawasaki compares the foundation of entrepreneurial strategy during the late 1990s and what’s popular and effective now.
  6. Leadership and Entrepreneurship: This lecture from MIT World features three business leaders from completely different fields but who have relied on their instincts and bold ideas to get their ideas off the ground.
  7. Whatever it Takes to Stay in Business: Frank Levinson encourages entrepreneurs to lose their pride, just like a baby, in order to please their customers and stay in business, whatever it takes.
  8. New Media Entrepreneurship: This talk is from 2008 but still has valuable tips on developing a good, emotional, factual pitch and going for the gold in order to move up in business.
  9. Behaviors of Successful Business Owners: Ron Finkelstein from Akris, LLC shares how entrepreneurs can make more money and develop productive employees, all with an efficient use of time.
  10. David S. Rose on pitching to VCs: In this TED lecture, serial entrepreneur David S. Rose helps you to pitch and prove yourself to venture capitalists.

Practical Education

From management to marketing, here are lectures that give you new ideas to help you build your business.

  1. John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer: Learn how to appeal to the post-recession consumer here.
  2. Team Process Leadership: James Seferis’ innovative philosophy on business leadership and success involves active participation from all team members.
  3. Finding Gold: Hiring the Best and the Brightest: Watch this lecture from UWTV to build an invaluable team that’s focused, motivated and cooperative.
  4. Customer Relationship Management: Former Amazon.com executive Bill Price weighs in on customer relationship management.
  5. Marketing a Start-up: Learn how to develop a smart marketing strategy before attempting to sell anything.
  6. The Case for Sustainability: Sustainability isn’t really an option for new business owners in today’s society: it’s a necessity. Here you’ll learn how to develop a sustainable, environmentally conscious business that’s also attractive to consumers.
  7. The Naked Corporation: Learn how to be a more transparent and honest business owner, in an age when positivity is just as important as profitability.
  8. Talk to an Angel: Crucial Connections to Early Stage Capital: This group from MIT helps entrepreneurs find the right investors when they’re first starting out.
  9. Joseph Pine on what customers want: Writer and consultant Joseph Pine gives tips on selling authenticity to modern consumers.
  10. Choosing people — the ultimate talent?: Look over the transcript from this lecture given at Gresham College to choose the right senior people so that you have less managing to do later.
  11. Challenges of Managing: Firing People: Gajus Worthington is a proponent of firing employees in order to produce a healthy, successful business. This 22-part lecture series offers tips for firing and recruiting.
  12. Business Ethics: These lectures given by top business executives and professors will clue you into integrity, corporate responsibility, and ethical leadership culture in the business world.
  13. No Sweat Speaking: Whether you need to work on giving pitches or improving upon your networking skills, this public speaking lecture will teach you how to tell a good story, make use of the audience, and relax before speaking.
  14. Chinese Business Culture for Business Travelers: If you plan on doing business in the East or recruiting from China, watch this lecture.

Innovation and Leadership

Learn how to effect change and inspire your workers here.

  1. Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty: James Parker and Barbara Stocking discuss strategies for energizing and motivating all employees of an organization, from the top down.
  2. Bringing Creativity into an Organization: Ignore the classic MBA management strategies if you want to really cultivate creativity in your workplace, argues Robert I. Sutton.
  3. Building the Next Generation Company: Innovation, Talent, Excellence: Lecturer John Chambers came out of the last recession with big profits, and in this speech, he explains how you can beat the recession, too.
  4. Seth Godin on standing out: Don’t bury your creative ideas because they seem outrageous: those are the ones worth nurturing.
  5. Howard Rheingold on collaboration: Learn how to work with team members around the world with technology, new media and open culture.
  6. Richard Branson’s life at 30,000 feet: Notable entrepreneur Richard Branson is interviewed about his larger than life ideas, his major struggles, and his motivations.
  7. A Policy on Leadership: If your business is struggling — or you want to prevent a fallout — watch this lecture to learn how to create a fact-based analytical organization and good management teams.
  8. Values-Based Leadership: Strive to be a leader with character, and you’ll end up inspiring your employees to work just as hard as you do.
  9. Innovative Leadership during Economic Crisis: Let this lecture help you to think outside the box, no matter what kind of crisis is getting in your way. You’ll learn how to be innovative in three areas: with customers, people, and products.
  10. How great leaders inspire action: Simon Sinek’s TED speech uses examples like Martin Luther King, Apple and the Wright brothers to explain how the mark of a great leader is his or her ability to inspire action and change.
  11. Composing a Career and Life: Get inspired to take a nonlinear path when obstacles are tossed into your plan.
  12. Derek Sivers: How to start a movement: Don’t settle for selling goods or services. Learn how to start a movement.
  13. The case for collaborative consumption: Rachel Botsman’s lecture focuses on our natural desire to share, and how collaborative consumption is a powerful economic force.
  14. Gerd Leonhard: Find out why ego doesn’t have a place in business anymore, and what that means for your business plan.
  15. Video Player The Power of Competition: How to Focus the World’s Brains on your Innovation Challenges: Conversely, Fiona Murray believes competition is healthy, too, and asks business owners to embrace it in order to add a jolt of energy to the enterprises.
  16. Nurturing a Vibrant Culture to Drive Innovation: Here’s another lecture on inspiring innovation in order to nurture a talented, unique team that drives your business.

Technology

Become a smarter user of technology so that social media and other tools end up working for you.

  1. Technology and the Recession: how new technology is changing the way we do business: Consider technology’s new role in business.
  2. Craig Mod: Publisher and developer Craig Mod discusses the changes coming for the book publishing industry, but as one commenter notes, the questions raised are relevant to all business ventures.
  3. Why social network mess can benefit your business: Euan Semple’s talk should convince you to get involved in social media, even though it’s always changing.

The Economy

Discover how to work with the economy, even in bad times.

  1. Shaped by Booms and Busts: How the Economy Impacts CEO Management Style: On your way to becoming a CEO, find out how to make room for economic changes.
  2. Video Player The Economic Meltdown: What Have We Learned, if Anything?: Paul Krugman delivers this lecture to MIT to help us learn from our mistakes.
  3. Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises: Consider the notion that free trade has opened us to global collaboration and an idea-sharing culture.
  4. Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women: Get statistics on the rise of women in the workforce, and their newly appreciated value in the economy.
  5. The Resilient Enterprise: Overcoming Vulnerability for Competitive Advantage: Here you’ll learn why it’s important to organize your company so that it can withstand catastrophe, from an economic downturn to an event like 9/11.
  6. Making Globazliation Work for All: Watch this lecture to learn how to make use of globalization without succumbing to immoral practices, like using sweatshops.
  7. Business, Knowledge and Global Growth: You’ll learn about the true impact that MBAs and business schools have had on the economy.

Top 10 Apps to Help You Reach Your New Year’s Health and Fitness Resolutions

[App Happy]

image via online.wsj.com

It’s the new year and many have made resolutions to lose weight.  There are even more support systems than ever to help people attain their goals.  One of the newest technologies that may be of some help are the apps available on iPhones, iPads and other digital devices.  Check out some of the most useful apps that could help you attain your fitness goals in 2011:

1.  Nikewomen Training Club – This free app helps motivate you to exercise.  You can choose workouts and have virtual coaches demonstrate exercises.  You can even use your own music to create a soundtrack to work out to from your iTunes library. 

2.  FitnessClass – Available with 3G or WiFi streams 230 video classes including a boot camp weight-loss session and even yoga.  You can choose segments that last from 10 to 60 minutes.  Classes range from $3-8 with 30 day class passes.

3.  Cardio Training – If you need a pedometer that can utilize your GPS from your phone system, this app is for you.  Available free from worksmartlabs, this app also comes with free add-ons for weight loss and resolutions to help with motivation. 

4.  iPump and FitnessBuilder – This pricier app ($9.99) includes workouts, an exercise database, videos of exercises and the ability to edit your own workouts.  

5.  FitnessClass – This free iPad app allows you to preview and purchase hundreds of exercise videos. 

6.  M-Train – Based on a PASE system (Pace, Agility, Strength and Endurance) this app allows you to add workouts for 99 cents each.  M-Train is created by ICS mobile

7.  BeatBurn Treadmill Outdoor Trainer – Good for interval workouts where you want to change the pace and change music choices. This app keeps track of speed, calories burned and incline information. 

8.  Imap my Fitness – This free app uses your GPS to track your workouts.  You can view your workout history and manually add information.  You can even tweet your results on Twitter. 

9.  Tap & Track Calorie, Weight Loss & Exercise Tracker – This app includes information about over 300,000 food items and information from 700 restaurants.  You can even work on this application when you are not online.

10.  Runkeeper Pro –  This app keeps track of running, walking and cycling workouts.  This application will let you know if you are on pace and keeps a history of your workouts.

Top 10 Company Mission Statements

Image via n2growth.com

Companies often list their vision and their mission statements on their sites. The difference between a mission statement and a vision statement is that a mission statement focuses on a company’s present state while a vision statement focuses on a company’s future.  However, some companies tend to blend these statements.  The following are some of the top technology-based company mission statements:

Amazon:  Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.  (They list this as their mission as a combination mission/vision on their site).

Apple:  Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

Dell:  Dell’s mission is to be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve. 

Facebook:  Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Google:  Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Microsoft:  Microsoft’s mission is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.

Skype:  Skype’s mission is to be the fabric of real-time communication on the web.

Twitter:  Twitter lists its mission as “a work in progress” as it has yet to be fully developed.

Yahoo!:  Yahoo!’s mission is to be the most essential global Internet service for consumers and businesses

YouTube:  YouTube’s mission is to provide fast and easy video access and the ability to share videos frequently

2011 Another Big Year for Skype

With rumors of Skype going IPO and their recent purchase of Qik (provider of mobile video software), Skype is making a lot of headlines lately.  It is anticipated that this may be an even bigger year for the growing company. 

In a recent article explaining how company names are becoming used as verbs, companies like Google and Facebook were used as examples.  Skype is now being added to that list.  The Wall Street Journal reported, “Making audio and video calls between computers over Skype is now so common that the company’s name has become a verb. People ask others to “Skype me” or say they are “Skyping.”

With the recent announcement that Verizon will be offering the iPhone, apps are becoming the topic of many a conversation.  Skype is now going to be available for use with Verizon’s new service.  WSJ reported, “A couple of weeks ago, Skype introduced free mobile video calling to its iPhone app and has plans to extend the same functionality to certain Android-based phones running on Verizon’s new high-speed 4G network later this year. And, last week, at the Consumer Electronics Show, it launched a paid service it had been testing that allows for group video calling on computers.”

Universities, including one where I work, have required professors to have a Skype account. Video-conferencing is the way of the future.  What is nice about Skype is that you can connect between computers and cell phones now.  In fact, “Group calling, which can handle between three and 10 people, is a feature of the latest Windows version of Skype, and of the latest beta version for the Mac.”

Skype does face some competition with Tango and FaceTime. FaceTime is video software developed by Apple for the iPhone.  Tango enables anyone with an iPhone or Android phone to make free mobile video calls over 3G, 4G, or Wi-Fi to their friends and family around the world.

How big is Skype?  According to SkypeNumerology, over 27 million people were online using Skype this week.  SkypeJournal reported that “Skype maintained 20% of all international minutes in 2010.  Skype will be reporting about $1 billion in revenue this year.”

photo

Skype’s International Market Share 2010

Have Access to Free Books on your Phone with an Overdrive App

image via google.com

Apps are all the rage lately.  Many can’t pull themselves away from Angry Birds or Cut the Rope these days.  However, there is a more useful app that is available that allows you access to digital e-books, audiobooks, music and videos.  In fact over 13,000 titles are offered from schools and public libraries. 

This app is called Overdrive and it is available for the Iphone and Android.  According to WSJ.com “Libraries buy the in-copyright digital books like they do print books — they can loan one “copy” at a time to a patron, with Overdrive keeping track of the length of the loans and access to each title.”

The books can be on loan for up 21 days and then they become no longer available.  There’s no running back to the library to make returns.  WSJ stated, “Overdrive’s app previously worked for audiobook downloads, but the company added e-book download capabilities in an update that it rolled out in December. Already, some 100,000 users have downloaded the updated version of the app. Much of the buzz about e-books has focused on how they’re upending bookstores. But libraries are changing, too, now that patrons can check out books without ever even stepping into the physical library. Overdrive says it witnessed a 200% increase in e-book checkouts in 2010 over 2009.”

Overdrive is based out of Cleveland.  On Overdrive’s site, they claim, “OverDrive currently hosts more than 500,000 premium digital titles from more than 1,000 publishers, including Random House, HarperCollins, BBC Audiobooks America, Harlequin, and Bloomsbury. Our digital distribution services are utilized by more than 13,000 libraries, schools, and colleges worldwide. For two consecutive years, OverDrive has been named to the EContent 100 as a company that matters most in the digital content industry.”

Why Companies Are Not Going IPO: Are Skype, Twitter and Facebook Projected IPOs in 2011?

There is a new trend for companies to remain privately owned.  Why have mega-companies like Facebook yet to go public?  The New York Times reported recently, “An I.P.O. used to be a rite of passage for a company, a sign that it had arrived. But even before the financial collapse of 2008, some entrepreneurs and financiers worried that America’s markets were somehow losing their edge. That would be bad news not only for Wall Street but ultimately the entire economy.”

Investors are frightened due to the recent stock crash.  Will the economy suffer if there isn’t an infusion of new companies in the stock market?  The numbers are definitely down.  According to The New York Times, “The annual rate of I.P.O.’s peaked in 1996, when around 756 American-based companies went public, according to Dealogic. That figure fell to a low of 36 during the financial crisis in 2008. It picked up to about 50 in 2009 and, so far this year (2010), it is running at about 100, excluding G.M.”

There has been talk that IPOs will pick up in 2011.  There are some major companies that have hinted at going public in 2011.  Here is the latest on some of the most discussed possible entrants into the IPO market:

  • SkypeTMC News reported, “Skype originally filed an S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission back in August, but have made several major moves since that may have pushed back the company’s timetable.”
  • Facebook – Although it is possible they could go IPO in 2011, recent talk has indicated it will probably not happen until 2012.  ComputerWeekly stated, “Facebook is preparing to sell stock through an initial public offering (IPO) in 2012, according to a document published by the social networking company. The document revealed that the number of Facebook shareholders will increase above 500 this year, forcing the company to go public or disclose financial information.”
  • Twitter – Some have speculated Twitter would be going public but ReadWriteWeb reported differently.  “According to CEO Costolo, Twitter has grown quickly recently, with 100 people joining the company in Q4. While the company recently raised $200 million in funding, Swisher wondered what Costolo saw as the company’s future – would it sell or would it go public? Neither, said Costolo.”

Companies go public to get money.  There are other advantages.  According to Investopedia.com, other reasons to go public include:

  • Because of the increased scrutiny, public companies can usually get better rates when they issue debt.
  • As long as there is market demand, a public company can always issue more stock. Thus, mergers and acquisitions are easier to do because stock can be issued as part of the deal.
  • Trading in the open markets means liquidity. This makes it possible to implement things like employee stock ownership plans, which help to attract top talent.

There are some disadvantages to going public.  According to Findlaw those disadvantages include the following.  I recommend going to Findlaw’s link to read the full explanations behind each of these disadvantages:

  • Time and Expense 
  • Disclosure
  • Decisions Based on Stock Price
  • Regulatory Review
  • Falling Stock Price
  • Vulnerability

Millennials Replacing Baby Boomer Workforce: Meeting Their Unique Needs

Big changes are occurring in the current workforce.  The dynamic is shifting as companies are experiencing a shift toward millennials replacing baby boomer generations. According to Harvard Business Review /HBR.org, “The makeup of the global workforce is undergoing a seismic shift: In four years Millennials—the people born between 1977 and 1997—will account for nearly half the employees in the world. In some companies, they already constitute a majority.” 

The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, addresses the unique personalities and needs of the post-boomer worker.  For simplicity sake, these post-boomer generations are given the title NewGens.  It can get confusing when Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials and other titles are used.  The term NewGens encompasses all of these groups. 

Post-boomer generations have received a bad reputation at times due to their need for immediate gratification.  Perhaps they are different but different isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many have high expectations but are willing to put forth the efforts it takes to achieve their goals. HBR.org reported, “Millennials have high expectations of their employers—but they also set high standards for themselves. They’ve been working on their résumés practically since they were toddlers, because there are so many of them and so few (relatively speaking) spots at top schools and top companies. They’re used to overachieving academically and to making strong personal commitments to community service. Keep them engaged, and they will be happy to overachieve for you.”

image via hbr.org

This new group of employees has considerable knowledge that can be crucial for a company’s success.  Younger generations, unlike the boomer generation, tend to move around in their jobs more often.  They are less likely to remain in a single company throughout their career. 

Are companies doing enough to keep their current employees happy?  Workforce.com stated the following about the millennial generation, “Large companies don’t move fast enough for that generation, which is [switching employers and] looking to expose themselves to new and different things. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the average American will have 10.8 jobs from age 18 to 42. Many workers have clung to their jobs amid the recession and high unemployment. Still, the overall turnover rate across all industries was 16.3 percent in 2009, according to a survey from Compdata.”

Part of keeping this younger generation interested in staying at their current position is to keep their attention.   Training must be aimed at their specific needs.  This is a technology-based group that likes to learn that way.  They also like to receive their information quickly.  Shorter, 3-5 minute training videos, can be effective.  This is the YouTube generation and employers must realize this and keep up with the trends. 

Aimglobal.org suggests the following guidelines for employers when dealing with millennial workers:

Ø Training. If you want a job well done, employers need to tell Millennials how to do it. However, don’t just give orders. Millennials want to know the reasoning behind them and the training offered to be successful.

Ø Mentoring. Partner your new Millennial with one of your veterans. The veteran can show the newcomer the ropes and conversely the newcomer can offer fresh ideas.

Ø Integration. Involve Millennials in a variety of projects, assignments, and career opportunities. Mixing it up keeps their interest.

Ø Team Collaboration. Millennials are comfortable in team settings. They like to collaborate with others especially on team-based projects and environments.

Ø Support Future Pursuits. During their employment at your company, Millennials will face decisions regarding the next stage of their lives including marriage, buying a house, having children, etc. Developing a guidance program around these changes demonstrates how your company will be there to support them.

For more complete information on post-boomer generations in the workplace and how to deal with their unique personality needs, click here

Honeycomb: What is all the Buzz About? Can Google’s Xoom take on Apple’s Ipad as 2011 is Dubbed the Year of the Tablet

 

Motorola Xoom vs Apple iPad

 

Image  By Dan Sung

There is a lot of talk about the new Motorola Xoom Tablet.  This is the first device using Google’s next generation mobile operating system Android OS 3.0 Honeycomb.   Verizon Wireless together with Motorola Mobility officially announced their new release Android Honeycomb Tablet Motorola XOOM this week.  It will go on sale later in the first quarter in the U.S.

Pocket-lint.com did a nice job of explaining how the new Xoom compares to the iPad. To find out why they are describing it as sexier, check out the comparison by clicking here.

Facebook, Google and Bing: When Companies Become So Popular Their Names Are Used as Verbs

If a company has its name used as a verb, its popularity is undeniable but it may also be problematic.  Although Google is a company name, it is not unusual for it to be used as a verb, as in someone is going to “Google” something.   Google and Facebook are listed as verbs on Dictionary.com.  The official definition for the verb version of Facebook is “to search for (a person’s profile) on the Facebook website.”  In fact, there is actually a Facebook page titled When Did Facebook Become a Verb with an entry as early as 2006.   

In 2006, CNet announced that Google had officially become a verb.  Google was not the first to be used this way.  Think about Xerox.  It used to be common to say that something needed to be Xeroxed instead of copied.  However, having the company name used as a verb can have its consequences.  CNet reported, “Becoming synonymous with an invention may hold a certain amount of historic glory for a company, but ubiquitous use of the company’s name to describe something can make it harder to enforce a trademark. Bayer lost Aspirin as a U.S. trademark in 1921 after it was determined that the abbreviation for acetylsalicylic acid had become a generic term. The trademarks Band-Aid, Kleenex, Rollerblade and Xerox have had similar issues.”

Is Bing the next company name to become a verb?  Bing has a nice ring to it like Ping did recently.  Perhaps the use of the phrase “Ping Me” has been played out and Bing is too late. It may also become complicated when dealing with past, present and future tense as noted in the following from a New York Times article:

Generations 2010 Report Claims Millennials Not Only Tech-Savvy Group: Important News for Marketing

Post-Baby Boomer generations are often credited as being tech-savvy.  This may be true, but older generations are catching up.  According to new research by Pew Research Center reported in the Huffington Post, “Internet users aged 18-33 still rule the web when it comes to social networking, instant messaging, and wireless internet usage on laptops and mobile phones. And they also remain the generation with the highest percentage of active web users, at 95%. But the older generations are catching up, in surprising ways. The fastest growth on social networking sites like Facebook has come from the G.I. generation, those aged 74 or older. This age group otherwise lags behind the rest of the generations, with only 30% using the internet, compared to the 79% rate across the general population. Yet when it comes to social networking, usage has quadrupled since 2008 from 4% to 16%.”

More generations are jumping on the technology bandwagon.  Since 2008, all age groups are seeing an increase in how people are obtaining their news. This Generations 2010 report provides important information for companies and individuals looking to market their products.  Understanding behaviors and preferences for each age demographic is a crucial part of the marketing process. 

If the goal is to market to Millennials, take advantage of all media types.  TommyToy lists the top 10 tips for marketing to Millennials, including, “Utilize every platform available to you. Please listen carefully: print is not dead. TV is not dead. All forms of media are alive. Millennials are bombarded with hundreds of messages before they even reach their first class of the day. Why would you ever cut your chances of communicating with them? They are everywhere, and your messaging should be everywhere as well.”

Millennials may not be slowing down but older generations are doing their part to catch up.  When marketing to other demographic groups, the key is to know the audience and focus the message based on their individual needs and where they prefer to get their information.

Skype Brings Video Calling to iPhones

 

Image via google.com

Press Release:

30 DECEMBER 2010, LUXEMBOURG – Skype today announced the new version of its iPhone application that brings video calling to millions of mobile users around the globe over both 3G and WiFi networks. Available to download from the Apple App Store today, the new Skype for iPhone App allows iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners to make and/or receive free* Skype video calls for the first time. Users can now see their family, friends and colleagues around the world while talking to them. With approximately 25 million concurrent users logged into Skype at any given time**, the new Skype for iPhone makes it easier than ever to share moments wherever you are.

Video calling significantly enhances the user experience of Skype for iPhone, which is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple. Now, users can make and receive free Skype-to-Skype calls, call mobiles and landlines around the world at very low rates, and now share more moments together with video on Skype for iPhone.

“With video calling representing approximately 40% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes for the first six months of 2010, our users have been eager to get Skype video calling on their mobile phones,” said Neil Stevens, general manager of Skype’s consumer business. “By bringing video to mainstream users at their home or work via their desktops, on the go with their mobiles, or into their living room via their TV, Skype has made it possible for millions of people to share video moments wherever they are.”

A video call evolves communication beyond transactional experiences to a shared experience where people can share any occasion with others wherever they are. Whether this is a military father watching the birth of his child while deployed abroad, loved ones communicating via sign language or work colleagues collaborating around the globe – the opportunities are endless.

Users can place Skype video calls with their iPhone over both a 3G data connection* or WiFi. The new Skype for iPhone app is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with i0S 4.0 or above. Video receiving capabilities are available on the iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad. Calls can be made between devices using the new Skype for iPhone app and desktops including Skype for Windows 4.2 and above, Skype for Mac 2.8 and above, Skype for Linux and ASUS Videophone.

The Skype for iPhone application is available for free download from the App Store or at www.skype.com/go/iphone.

Best 2010 Christmas Videos Gone Viral on YouTube

This is the time of year where people are sharing lots of fun holiday videos on Youtube, Facebook and other social networking sites. The following are a sampling of some of the most popular.

7 yr old Rhema Marvanne Sings All I Want for Christmas

Animals of YouTube Sing Deck the Halls

The Digital Story of the Nativity

QR Code: Why You Should Be Using It to Promote You, Your Business and Products

qr code

 

QR Code or Quick Response Code is a two-dimension matrix code developed in the mid 90’s in Japan.  Businesses are drawn to it because it offers an improvement over barcodes.  Wisegeek explains, “QR Code contains data in both vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a bar code has only one direction of data, usually the vertical one. QR Code can also correspondingly hold more information. QR Code is easily digested by scanning equipment, and because it has potentially twice the amount of data as bar code, it can increase the effectiveness of such scanning. QR Code can handle alphanumeric character, symbol, binary, and other kinds of code. QR Code can hold up to 7,089 characters in a single symbol. ”

QR Code has become increasingly popular with the use of cell phones.  I recommend checking out an article by Searchengineland.com to see some video demonstrations.  A code can easily be generated on sites like Kaywa.com.  If you are wondering if search engines like Google will be able to recognize them, “If you add them to your website, the search engines will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly index the content in them.”

There are several recommended uses for the QR Code but one that I found to be interesting was that you could add one to your business card.  People would then be able to scan your information directly into their cell phone contact database.

Some other recommended uses may be to add them to media ads.  This simple little code could communicate product, contact, offer, and event information as well as coupons and social media links.

Related Articles:

What is a Super Cookie and Can You Remove it From Your Computer and SmartPhone?

Webopedia defines a cookie as “A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.”  Computers store these cookies so that they can remember information.  There is also something called the Super Cookie.  Blogstopsign.com claims, “Unlike its cousin the browser cookie, the super cookie is a Flash-based cookie that is stored in a different location on a computer than a browser cookie, can be much larger than the 4K allotted the browser cookie, and is much more difficult to uninstall (or even find on your PC) than the cookies you’re used to dealing with.” Computerweekly.com claims Super Cookies can store around 100K by default.

Ebezine.com claims “The new Web language and its additional features present more tracking opportunities because the technology uses a process in which large amounts of data can be collected and stored on the user’s hard drive while online. Because of that process, advertisers and others could, experts say, see weeks or even months of personal data. That could include a user’s location, time zone, photographs, text from blogs, shopping cart contents, e-mails and a history of the Web pages visited.”

It’s not just computers where you have to think about cookies tracking your actions. If you haven’t read the recent Wall Street Journal article Your Apps are Watching You, I highly recommend it.  The author of the article does a nice job of explaining how apps on smartphones are able to track and share information about us.  With the popularity of apps, this is a big issue.  In the WSJ article they claim, “Every phone has a unique ID assigned to it.  “It is effectively a “supercookie,” says Vishal Gurbuxani, co-founder of Mobclix Inc., an exchange for mobile advertisers.”

wtk1217

wtk1217

image via online.wsj.com

If you want to remove cookies from your smartphone, you may be faced with a challenge.  As recently reported on Technology Review and listed on Mocana.com:

  • Ringleader designed a pseudo-cookie analytic system called Media Stamp.
  • Deleting the cookies doesn’t help, nor does going into Safari’s stored databases and deleting the Ringleader database, RLDGUID.
  • Ringleader would simply fetch the unique ID it stored for an individual’s phone and start tracking all over again. The folks at Ars Technica tried using Ringleader’s opt-out service, but the RLDGUID database just reappeared. Apparently, the company needs to keep track of your phone’s unique ID forever, so it knows to opt-you out of its ads.

If you do most of your web surfing on your computer, there are ways to remove Super Cookies from your computer. Blogstopsign.com gives the following suggestions about how to do this:

  • Manual deletion: The most tech savvy method to remove the super cookie, manual deletion is probably best suited for the technically minded. A super cookie is usually found in the “Flash Player” directory on your computer, but can be stored elsewhere. Use the search tool on your PC and look for the *.sol file extension.
  • Better Privacy (Firefox addon): If you use Firefox you can add the Better Privacy plugin to your install and let the addon work its magic on your LSOs.
  • Disable/remove Flash: Not a fan of Flash in the first place? Don’t care about certain videos or online games? If so, just disable or full-on remove the Flash player from your computer. If it works for iPhone users, it might work for you, too.

Additional Resources

Advertising Focus: Where People Are Getting Their Information as Web Time Equals TV Time

Before the invention of television, families sat together and listened to shows on the radio.  Times have certainly changed.  In the late 1920’s, a man named Philo Farnsworth is credited for inventing the early television transmission. By the 1940’s, television began replacing the radio as families’ preferred method of entertainment.  Today, people are still watching about the same amount of television as in recent years, but the Internet is changing the way consumers spend the rest of their time. This is changing the way companies must focus their advertising.

Forrester’s 2010 survey reveals that people are spending as much time on the Internet as they are watching television.  The U.S. consumer is spending 13 hours a week doing these combined activities.   Internet usage is increasing dramatically – 121% over the past five years.  Consumers are finding that they are doing more things online such as shopping and visiting social-networking sites. 

Due to technology and consumer’s new focus, advertising has had to change as well.  Cost-per-click advertising has gained in popularity.  However, as technology increases, so does the options for advertisers.  Companies can now use retargeting technology offered by companies like Fetchback.   According to their site, Fetchback defines retargeting as “putting messages in front of lost prospects who have left your Web site in order to attract them back and convert – finish the purchase, sign up for the newsletter, or whatever action you’re looking for.” To see a live demo of how their system works, click here.

Advertisers must also become creative with people on the go.  Mobile devices allow easy access to the Internet.  More than one third of American cellphone owners use a mobile browser. Using browsers to connect to the Internet and texting are the top two uses for these devices.  Consumers are able to be mobile and still connect to their social media sites. 

How can today’s advertisers target consumers?  The Internet Advertising Bureau’s mobile best practice guide may be useful. iAd platform and Google Mobile may be helpful to reach smartphone users.

10 Ways to Market Yourself as a Product to Get the Job

 

The following is from Anne McCauley’s article  for CareerConnectors.net.  To see the whole article and the 10 step process that was discussed at this meeting, go to the article by clicking here

Do you feel overlooked by prospective employers?  Maybe you are and could consider Marketing Yourself as a Product.  This week at the Gilbertevent Dr. DianeHamiltonspoke to more than 100 job seekers about ten ways to market yourself to get the job.  Dr. DianeHamiltonis the author of several books including How to Reinvent Your Career and It’s Not You, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.  If you missed her presentation, borrow copies of her books from the local library; her presentation was based in part on her books. 

Click here for the information from Dr. Diane Hamilton’s talk.

55 Important Technology Terms You Should Know if You Are Starting a New Job

image via loyalkng.com
 

Many people are starting new jobs right now.  Many of them are working with technology or using terminology that they may never have had to use in the past.  Managers and co-workers may toss around words that they assume people already know.  It is imported that people are prepared for this and be proactive in their learning effort.  The following is a list of some of the technology terms people should probably know. (For more terms, check out webopedia.com. That site contains a lot more “techy” terms than the average worker may not need to know, but their site is very comprehensive and a good resource to have.)

Affiliate Marketing – A marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

AOV – Average Order Value.

Below and above the fold – Where an ad is displayed on the website and you have to scroll down to see the ad.

Blog Roll – It is a list of links to blogs that a blogger likes.

Bounce Rate – The percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continuing on the current site.

CES – Customer Effort Score.

Cloud Computing – Sharing resources rather than having your own servers to do it. 

CLV – Client Retention Rate.

Container Tags – Used to affect a certain portion of your material. Container tags operate on the material between the opening tag < tag> and the closing tag </ tag>.

Cookie – A message your web browser uses to identify you and remember information for each time the browser goes back to access the server that gave it the cookie/message.

CPA – Cost per action – the publisher is taking most of the advertising risk, as their commissions are dependent on good conversion rates.

CPC – Cost per click.  Advertisers pay for their ad when someone clicks on it.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – Managing a company’s relationships with customers and clients.

CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – Operating a business in a socially responsible and ethical manner to have a positive impact on society.

CTR – Clickthrough Rate – A way of measurer success of an online advertising campaign. Take the number of people who clicked on an ad and divide by the number of times an ad was delivered (also known as impressions).

CV – Curriculum Vitae – Used instead of a resume.  It is a written description of work and experience commonly used by professors and outside of the US.

Data Feed – Users receive updated data from data sources.

Day-Parting – Showing an ad at a specific time of the day.

DM – Abbreviation for direct message.

DMA – Designated Marketing Area (ties in with geo-targeting).

Dongle – A mechanism like a hardware key that only authorized users can use software.

DSPs – Demand-side Platform – DSPs centralized management of accounts and reporting and a central hub for handling data to help with the real-time bidding valuation.

Ethernet – is a family of frame-based computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs).

Forum – An online discussion group.

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language – Uses markup tags to describe web pages.

IAB – Internet Advertising Bureau.

iFrame – An HTML structure that allows another HTML document to be put into an HTML page – iFrames are set up as a window frame. 

ISP – Internet Service Provider.

Jitter – Flickering on a display screen.

Modem – A device that modulates a signal so that you can receive data.

Nanotechnology – The study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale.

NPS – Net Promoter Score – Defines the loyalty of a customer relationship.

OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer – Company manufacturers’ products are sold under the purchaser of that product’s brand name. The original company that manufactured the product is the OEM.

PA – You may hear someone say “talk to my PA”, referring to their Personal Assistant.

PC Suite – A software package used to establish an interface between Nokia mobile devices and computers that run Microsoft Windows operating system.

PING – As in Ping me back – Used a variety of ways.  Usually means to instant message or email someone back.  The word ping in the technology world is actually short for Packet Internet Groper, a utility used to check for network areas. 

Plog – A political blog.

Quicktag – A button that inserts HTML in to your post.

RTB – Real Time Bidding.

ROAS – Return on Ad Spend.

ROI – Return on Investment.

Router – A device that decides where information should be forwarded.

RSS – Real Simple Syndication – If you want to receive information from a specific website, you can click on the RSS feed button and have updates from that site show up on your RSS reader such as Google Reader.

Sales Deck – Your sales presentation/slides you present to the customer.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – Improving the ability to be seen on a website by search engines.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – A form of marketing to promote a website through increasing visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Time Shifting – Refers to recording programming for later use.

Toggle – Toggling means to switch from one setting to another. It implies there are only two settings.  Think of a light switch that clicks on or clicks off.

Twaffic – Twitter traffic.

Twishing – The act of sending a message to a Twitter user in an attempt to obtain his or her name and password. Think Tweeting and Fishing combined.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator – The address of a file on the Internet.  Think – http://

View Throughs (also known as Post-Impressions)  – If an ad on a site influenced consumers to search, then purchase a product,  the referrer gets credit for influencing the purchase behavior.

WAP – Wireless Access Point – A device that allows wireless communication. It usually connects to a router.

Wiki – A website that allows a lot of people to add to the content for collaboration.  Think – Wikipedia.

XML – Extensible Markup Language.

There are so many terms; it is hard to just pick 55.  Please feel free to respond and add any words that you feel are just as important to be aware of in today’s workforce.

Top 10 Gifts to Buy Millennials and Post-Baby Boomers for Christmas

The term Millennial is sometimes used very broadly to include any group since the Baby Boomer generation. I personally have resorted to using the term NewGens to refer to all of the post-Boomer generations.  NewGens can be a challenging group to please at Christmas time. 

This group is used to technology and may expect instant gratification. In fact, anything based around technology or social media is hot!  Companies are doing some unique things to target this unique market.  Check out some interesting marketing being used by Coke, Gap, American Eagle and J C Penney by clicking here.  

If you are having difficulty finding that perfect gift for that Gen X, Gen Y, Millennial, or (most easily stated) NewGen, consider the following:

  1. iTouch or iPad or just about anything Apple including Itunes gift cards
  2. Wii or XBox is still popular
  3. Clothing or Clothing Accessories
  4. Video Games
  5. It’s Not You It’s Your Personality – Books like this are always popular
  6. Gift Cards – Their popularity is expected to be high again this year – You can personalize them to make the more fun
  7. Digital Camera – video cameras are hot for making Youtube videos
  8. GPS
  9. DVD Gift Pack
  10. Traditional games like Pictionary or MadGab

Related articles:

What is Your Favorite Celebrity’s Personality Type? See How Your Personality Compares to Theirs

Have you ever wondered if you shared a personality type with a famous celebrity?  While it is very important to learn about our own personalities, it can also be very helpful to learn about other people’s personalities as well.  By looking at famous celebrities and their personality types, it can help us recognize qualities that we may possess that can be helpful or hurtful to our own success. 

People are often described as being introverts or extroverts.  How can you tell which one you are?  One way is to answer the following question:  Do you find that you often speak before you have had a chance to really think about what it is you want to say?  If so, you may be an extrovert.  Extroverts are often thought of as outgoing because they can be talkative. They can be talkative because they are processing what they are thinking out loud. You might think that Hollywood celebrities must be extroverts.  That is not necessarily true. 

Think about how you prefer to process information.  If you think as you are speaking rather than taking time to process the information, you might be an extrovert.  If you are an extrovert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Matthew Perry
  • Tom Hanks
  • Oprah
  • Johnny Depp
  • Robin Williams
  • Bill Cosby
  • Jim Carrey
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Bruce Willis
  • Madonna

There are actually more extroverts in the world than introverts.  Introverts like to take their time to develop their thoughts before they speak.  If you prefer to process information this way, you may be an introvert.  There are far more introverts in Hollywood than you might expect.  If you are an introvert, here are some famous people that share your personality type:

  • Michael Jackson
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Britney Spears
  • Brooke Shields
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Julia Roberts
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Lady Gaga
  • Tom Cruise 

There are a lot of different personality tests out there that give information about personality preferences.  The previous examples of introverts and extroverts are a part of what the Myers-Briggs MBTI personality test can explain about our personalities. 

There are plenty of other assessments that can give insight to who you are.  A lot has been written about birth order, and how it affects personality.  Are you a first-born child?  Then you may be interested in learning that the following celebrities are also first-borns:

  • Jessica Simpson
  • Nick Lachey
  • Josh Hartnett
  • Sylvester Stallone

If you are a middle child, you share that in common with the following celebrities:

  • Elijah Wood
  • Bill Gates
  • Jay Leno
  • Princess Diana

If you are the youngest, you may be interested in seeing which celebrities were last-born children:

  • Halle Berry
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Whoopi Goldberg

If you are an only child, you may relate to these celebrities:

  • Freddie Prinze, Jr.
  • Alicia Keys
  • Tiger Woods
  • Natalie Portman

To find out more about how to analyze your own personality as well as those in others, check out the book: It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.  Millennials and post-boomer groups should be able to relate to many of the examples in the book.  Some of the top personality assessments are explained, along with celebrity examples so that you can visualize the personality traits.  The following personality assessments are also discussed in the book:

You might have noticed that emotional intelligence is covered in the book. Part of being emotionally intelligent is having the ability to understand your own emotions and personality as well as those in others.  The book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, includes a fun way to develop your personality skills.  You can also learn tolerance of others’ personalities, while being able to compare your own traits to some famous celebrities as well.

Google’s E-Book Store Takes Off Touting Ability to Read Any Book Anywhere

Yesterday was the opening of the Google e-book store.  This creates some serious competition for Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple.  Publishers are flocking to be included on their site. 

According to the New York Times, “More than 4,000 publishers, including large trade book companies like Random House, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, have made books available for sale through Google, many at prices that are identical to those of other e-bookstores.”

Independent bookstores are even able to sign up to sell Google’s e-books on their websites.  According to the New York Times, “It is also an opportunity for independents to learn from past missteps. They were slow to build Web sites to sell books during the initial expansion of online retailing in the 1990s, a mistake that led their customers to turn to Amazon and its deeply discounted selection.”

Google’s site boosts of having over 3 million titles that are usable on just about every e-book device.  They are touting their site as the world’s largest library of e-books.

Thebookdesigner.com had an interesting article about Google’s e-book site.  One important thing they pointed out was “The Google eBookstore is completely cloud-driven. Rather than the Kindle or iBooks model of downloading your purchase to a device, the eBookstore is where your purchase lives. You surf there to read your book, whether you use your iPhone on the train, your iPad sitting out on the porch, or your PC while at your desk. And since the book itself is centrally located, it keeps your place each time you log on to read it.”

To find out more about the store, check out the following video.

 

Is E-Mail on its Way Out? Facebook and Other Means of Communicating May Cause its Demise

 

For years, there have been many claims that email is no longer necessary. Many companies are already replacing email by communicating through IMs and video chat. Facebook’s newest advances have been called the Gmail killer.  Could e-mail actually become a thing of the past?  If so, this could be a big hit to a lot of email providers. 

Campaign Monitor analyzed 12 months of data from its registered users/clients. Below is the e-mail client market share as of January 2010.

Email client popularity chart

There have been a lot of technologies that were considered a test of e-mail’s ability to withstand the competition.  Reachthepublic.com’s article stated those who believe that the top technologies have killed e-mail are naïve, “Instant messaging already killed email, then RSS killed it, then SMS, then Twitter, and now, finally, Facebook has killed it.  E-mail is the most frequently killed digital communication channel in history.”  This article noted that e-mail has several things to offer including being open to delivery outside of a platform that requires acceptance.

E-mail’s hold has been slipping.  Mashable reported that Nielson Online stats from 2008 showed that social networking has become more popular than e-mail. “According to the study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” last year, compared to 65.1% for e-mail.”

Technologies come and go.  As new generations find new ways to communicate, old ways may be discarded.  According to sfgate.com “E-mail thrived, after all, because it was one of the first forms of Internet sharing for the m