EVERGREEN AND ALWAYS – BUSINESS OF BUSINESS

5 Types of Evergreen Content for Your Website

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
This story originally appeared on PR Newswire’s Small Business PR Toolkit
In general, two types of successful content exist: Topical content that is relevant now and will lose its influence over time, and evergreen content that is pertinent now and will continue to be in the future. While both are important components of a content strategy, evergreen allows a brand to re-use, reshare and repurpose the same information, saving both time and resources while increasing the amount of traffic the website and business receive.

Create evergreen content with:

1. Instructions
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. A significant number of those are inquiring how to accomplish a task. “How-to” guides and tutorials can perpetually provide valuable answers. Tackle challenges that will continue to be relevant in the future, with solutions that will remain the same. A guide on how to change a lightbulb, for example, is and will continue to be accurate and important to residents new to DIY chores. And if the content is tailored to a certain skill level, it’s recommended to clarify that information in the title. For instance, specify if your tutorial on a software program is for beginners or for experts.

2. Interviews
Interview industry experts and influencers. Interviews are a great form of evergreen content because they’re not only timeless but also simple to repurpose. Take the podcast or video and convert its content into a blog, white paper, ebook or PowerPoint presentation.

3. Answers
Because answers to questions regarding the practices and standards of a company as well as industry terms rarely change, FAQ and glossary pages are ideal for evergreen website content. According to PlainLanguage.gov, readers complain about jargon more than any other writing fault. So when creating term definitions, be as clear and straightforward as possible so every reader can understand the information and won’t reference another source instead.

4. History
When providing historical content either about the industry or the brand, avoid using adverbs of time. For example, using words like “last year” or “recently” will quickly cause the content to be inaccurate and outdated. Instead, use the actual date that the historical event took place.

5. Lists
“Top 10” lists of topics that aren’t time-sensitive are not only perennial but also very easy for readers to digest since the information is concisely broken down and organized. Lists can vary from a compilation of industry resources or tools to the best and worst practices of a particular subject or technique.

Because evergreen material will remain pertinent, new users will continue to find and reference the already established content, which will increase traffic and visibility over time. In fact, according to a case study conducted by Moz.com, creating perpetually relevant content improves a brand’s website traffic, overall growth and reputation as an authority.

Written by Phillip Thune of Textbroker

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NATIVE PR?

Why PR Firms Shouldn’t Be Worried About Native Ads

Why PR Firms Shouldn't Be Worried About Native Ads
Image credit: Shutterstock.com
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On a recent trip to New York, I took the opportunity to attend a digital publishing summit that brought together key digital players including The Huffington PostThe Onion, Buzzfeed and others to discuss trends in publishing. I was interested to learn more about how the media landscape is changing as a result of digital.

Changing reader habits, geared towards a preference for consuming media online and through devices, have led to the decline of print and a subsequent decline in revenue for media outlets. Unsurprisingly, the number one issue up for discussion at the conference was revenue models, most predominately native advertising.

Is the wall between editorial and advertising coming down?

Many critics suggest that native advertising has led to one of the most significant shifts of our times, the gradual breakdown of the wall that used to exist between editorial and advertising. Editorial has never stood completely independent (after all we have a whole industry, public relations, which has given interest groups a platform through editorial), the line has certainly begun to blur.

On the other hand, one could also argue that native advertising leads to more transparency about corporate interests, unlike public relations where corporate interests are buried in editorial. Critics could argue that indeed the wall remains intact.

What does this mean for public relations practitioners?

In any event, native advertising is already sending earned media opportunities into decline. We’re already seeing fewer opportunities to secure media coverage for clients through traditional means—pitching for interviews, guest blogging, op eds, media releases etc.—without paying for it.

What does this mean for today’s public relations practitioner? Practitioners must be well versed in digital, social, content and paid media. Borrowing the tactics of other disciplines is now the norm. This doesn’t mean, however, that public relations doesn’t have its place.

Ultimately, public relations brings to the table a crucial focus on understanding target audience and crafting messages and content which cuts through with that audience. This is also paramount for a sound content, digital or social strategy. Public relations also understands the unique role of a brand’s reputation and credibility, which goes beyond simply building brand awareness.

Native advertising won’t mean the end of public relations, but it will mean that public relations will start to look very different.

GOOGLE’S BIG QUBIT – BUSINESS OF BUSINESS

GOOGLE’S QUANTUM COMPUTER JUST GOT A BIG UPGRADE

Google's 1000+ Qubit chip.

If You Want Me to Buy Your Business: Be Able To Take A Vacation.

Fischer Business Consulting

Businessman chained to a large ballMost people in today’s business world value their time off.  Whether it is weekends, days off or vacations, they want to get away. Numerous studies have shown the value of time off as it relates to both health and productivity.  Why would I want to buy and run an existing business that denies me this?

If you are an owner/operator and lose income every time you take time off, your business is your job.  It pays you well (or well enough).  As long as you are working, you make money but when you take off, you don’t.  This makes it very hard for you to step away and relax, even for a day, much less a week.  To a buyer, your business is a very demanding job.  If there is no apparent way for them to improve your situation, why should they proceed?  While it may provide solid income to…

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Finding your FOCUS

The Matt Randall Companies

“With all the crazy stuff that you do, how do you find your focus?” A dear friend ask me this questions recently and I never really thought about it because I just always had too many irons in the fire and learned to juggle.

Over the past 20 years or so the buzz word in employment has been ‘multi tasking’. If you look at job postings, you will invariably notice that each includes a phrase similar to ‘must be able to effectively handle multiple projects and objectives’. The problem is that science has proven we are not effective at multi-tasking and it actually reduces productivity.

While we are always going to be inundated with tasks at work or home, we can learn to become more productive by learning to FOCUS.

focus-acronymFOCUS: Follow One Course Until Success

FOCUS is the new trend towards single-tasking and it is showing good results. It…

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Yahoo to Go Forward With Alibaba Stake Spinoff by MICHAEL J. de la MERCED

Robert Maynard Lifelock

Robert Maynard Presents New York Times Business Section
By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED

The board decided to move forward even though the I.R.S. declined to rule the transaction tax-free in advance.

Published: September 29, 2015 at 12:00AM

from NYT Business Day http://ift.tt/1LhKnyt
via Robert Maynard Entrepreneurship Site

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Creating a Marketing Plan: Part 3

Author DelSheree Gladden

To get started on creating your marketing plan, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first. For specific release day ideas…keep reading!

Facebook Release Party

TGH FB PartyCreate an “Event” on FB, then add details of where/when, who’s participating, prizes, games, etc.

Invite Friends and Readers and encourage them to invite more people.

  • “Who invited you?” giveaway can be a great way to encourage more invites.

Invite other authors

  • Share the burden and fans: Invite authors to participate or “takeover” during the party with their own games/giveaways/etc.
  • More games and prizes means more fun.
  • Other authors bring in their fans to learn about your books and your fans learn about other authors as well.

Games

  • “Caption this!” – Find a funny or strange picture and ask for captions. All captions earn an entry and you can either pick the best as the winner or pick at random.
  • Book themed i.e. Bad Date…

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Why Are You Waiting on a Text Marketing Campaign?

nancyrubin

marketing_stuffIf you’re looking for ways to increase brand visibility and reach more customers than you ever thought possible, then you need to start a text marketing campaign.

That’s right text message marketing is one of the most effective forms of customer outreach in today’s marketing environment.

With texting success in mind, here are a few reasons why your business should start a text campaign right now:

Why Choose Text Marketing?

With mobile technology taking the world by storm, there has never been a better time to adopt a text marketing plan than now.

In fact, according to a recent study by Oracle, more than 65% of all smart phone and cell phone users say they have made a purchase as a direct result of a text campaign.

Additionally, nearly 60 million smart phone users in the U.S. say they’ve redeemed mobile coupons that they’ve received through text marketing campaigns.

That’s…

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Chip Cards Will Require Users to Dip Rather Than Swipe by RACHEL ABRAMS

Hadi Aboukhater's Blog


By RACHEL ABRAMS

A change in how credit and debit cards are used may be the only sign many consumers have of a big behind-the-scenes shift in the payment industry.

Published: September 29, 2015 at 12:00AM

from NYT Business Day http://ift.tt/1FE0unj

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A NEW AND BETTER DESIGN from THE BUSINESS, CAREER, AND WORK OF MAN

A new and better design is not really possible unless one first acknowledges that a new and better design is necessary and required.

image from nuturenergy

I, Too, Left the Tech Industry

Evgenia Got Free

With a nod to Cate Huston.

I have resigned from a 20 year career in tech. For many reasons, I decided to flip some tables in 2015. I have some not yet coherent observations on this that I will share in case they help others. I benefitted greatly from others’ posts on their decisions to leave tech and how they did so, and would like to pay it forward.

“This is my last tech job.”
A few months ago, a thought struck me out of nowhere. It was not a particularly bad day at work and there was nothing obviously awful going on. I simply thought “This is my last tech job” with absolute certainty. If I were a person of faith this might make more sense, in that it may have seemed like “a message,” but I simply observed it and thought “Huh! Ain’t that something.”

But from…

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The adblocking revolution is months away (with iOS 9) – with trouble for advertisers, publishers and Google

The Overspill: when there's more that I want to say


The thing about print adverts was that they stayed where they were. Photo by Bethan on Flickr.

TL:DR: when Apple’s iOS 9 comes out in September, there’s going to be a dramatic uptake of ad blockers on iOS – and it’s going to have far-reaching effects not just on websites and advertisers, but potentially also on the balance in mobile platforms and even on Google’s revenues.

Now, the longer version.

Remember newspapers?

In the old days, adverts appeared in print, on the radio and on the TV. Most ad-supported news organisations that have shifted to the internet began in print.

Ads in print were straightforward. Advertisers bought space, and editors could turn them down, or sometimes decide not to run them if a story broke that would bring about an awkward juxtaposition of, say, the advert for a shoe store on page 3 and the big breaking story now…

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What is wrong with being ordinary?

The Window On The Street

There are many annoying things about advertising.

How loud and in your face it can be,

Chemist Warehouse small (Because billboards don’t have wheels)

The way you are sold a product through an (often highly polished and unrealistic) image of a coveted lifestyle,

stupid car ad 2

And the way women’s heads are periodically removed from their bodies:

headless body messes with minds swanston st giant headless lady

But one theme in advertising that has been bothering me lately is this: That to be ordinary – to be anything remotely like anyone else – is unacceptable.

seen not herd toyota ad

coke ad 3


oscar de la renta extraordinary Picture4

Advertising is something I try not to pay too much attention to, mainly because when I look at most ads the standards they imply through photos such as those above strike me as unfair and unrealistic. Like a strange pseudo-reality, or a fictional narrative in which one has to suspend one’s disbelief to get very far, ads frustrate me from how removed they often are from everyday life.

And yet…

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IN NEED OF

Wyrdwend

IN NEED OF

I am in immediate need of the following things:

1. BETA READERS for my fictional writings and novels and (if you wish) the poetry and songs that I intend to publish. I want only brutally honest opinions, and I want a wide range of readers/reader-types. (There will be no pay but I will exchange favors and see to it that you are provided with free copies of the finished works). Confidentiality regarding my writings will be expected of course, and I will restrict my beta readers to maybe 6 to 8 people, but I will treat you right. If you are interested in reading my literary writings, my popular fiction, my poetry, my song lyrics and my other Work then please visit my Literary Blog Wyrdwend at this link: https://wyrdwend.wordpress.com/category/my-writings-and-work/

2.A good, decent, hard-working, and ambitious LITERARY AGENT (to match myself). If you are interested in…

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GAO’s Technology Assessments: 3D Printing

WatchBlog: Official Blog of the U.S. Government Accountability Office

Technology_Assessment_MedallionYou may be familiar with our traditional reports, testimonies, and legal decisions, but do you know about our technology assessments? Today’s WatchBlog explains them before highlighting our recent look at 3D printing.

What are technology assessments?

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution

dcmme

An April 13th, 2015 outlaw.com article entitled, “Industry 4.0 and the technological revolution in manufacturing – developments in Germany” http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2015/april/industry-40-and-the-technological-revolution-in-manufacturing–developments-in-germany/ discussed the increasing efficacy at which smart technology is assisting manufacturers in their complex processes. This new internet of things weaves all aspects of business and process together, from machine to machine to communication, real time process implementation, and artificial technology. This allows companies and employees to view their operations from a more holistic stance and cut through the slog of everyday processes. Industry 4.0 allows the product being manufactured to talk to the machines to provide a better result with quicker results. The article delves into technology ranging from smart gloves to drones to robotics to customized manufacturing.

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5 Robotics Stocks to Watch (the Droids You’re Looking For)

dcmme

According to an article posted on September 10th, 2015 in The Street, (http://www.thestreet.com/story/13281861/1/5-robotics-stocks-to-watch-the-droids-you%E2%80%99re-looking-for.html) robots could soon be doing much more than just assembling your car or cleaning house, they could also be included in your investment portfolio. The Boston Consulting Group believes that the rapid growth in the robotics industry will be due to several factors. Currently robots perform roughly 10% of all manufacturing tasks, but they believe that number will jump to 25% by 2025. By the same year, they estimate that automation will cut manufacturing costs by 18-33% and increase productivity by 30% in countries such as South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, and the US. They also state that it’s not only the reduction in labor costs that’s increasing the trend in automation, it’s that the actual price of robots is decreasing over time. For example, the cost of an advanced robotic spot welder…

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Six Recent Trends in Robotics and Their Implications

I very much look forward to the day we can 3-D print our own robots, even the internal components.

The Innovation Hub

Jainam Piparia

There are signs all around us indicating that the field of robotics is going through a major transformation. Robots are getting significant coverage in the media. A number of big companies that had little to do with robotics are suddenly on a buying spree to acquire robot companies. Countries that were not on anyone’s radar screen just few years ago are now emerging as major players in the robotics arena. Many design and operational constraints associated with robots are being obliterated by, among other things, the use of cloud computing and social media. Costs are falling rapidly, enabling new applications. Even the notion of what was considered a robot is changing fast. All these signs seem to point that robotics is on the verge of something big that can hopefully impact our lives in a positive way.

This post lists six main trends and discusses their implications.

1. Commercial Investments

Recently the commercial sector…

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Got the Commuting Blues? Here are the Cities with the Top 10 Worst Traffic Jams in America

TAL Group, Inc.

Article written by Angela Hydes, Marketing and Content Contributor. Follow us at @TALGroup.

According to the U.S. Census, the average commute time in the US is 25.4 minutes – and that’s only one way. Similarly, the average commute in Canada is  25 minutes even. Factoring in this being a two way trip (unless you sleep at the office?), this would mean North Americans are spending approximately an hour in commute each day.

If you have the commute blues, the statistics below might brighten your day a bit. Business Insider put together a list of the top 10 cities in America with the ultimate worst traffic jams. Is your city on this list? If so, you may want to consider relocating somewhere else.

Those living in Los Angeles… I seriously don’t know how you do it.

screen shot 2015-09-18 at 9.27.54 am

If you’re Canadian and wondering where your commute stacks up, check out the infographic…

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Passage to India: Exploring 3D Printing at HNB Garhwal University

AntiquityNOW

Bernard Means Bernard Means

As you know from previous blogs, Bernard Means, PhD., who heads up the Virtual Curation Laboratory and is an Instructor of Anthropology and Advisor for the Virtual Archaeology Scanning Team (VAST) at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia is working with AntiquityNOW on The Slavery Project. He and Shirley K. Gazsi, president of AntiquityNOW, will be presenting the project at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in New Orleans, LA in November. The Slavery Project (TSP) is an ongoing, interactive series of modules that incorporates lesson plans along select historical plot lines detailing slavery in a particular society during a specific period.  TSP is designed to provide students an immersive experience where a culture is explored according to the social, cultural, political and economic conditions of the time. Lessons will include the use of Minecraft and 3D printing.

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ReThink Software: 15-Year-Old Entrepreneur Creates App to End Cyber-Bullying

Women's iLab

Photo from trishaprabhu.com Photo from trishaprabhu.com

Tech entrepreneur Trisha Prabhu is already changing the world. The 15-year-old innovator is the creator of a scientifically proven and award-winning app called ReThink, an app geared towards stopping cyber-bullying.

In 2013, after hearing about 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick’s suicide due to cyber-bullying, Prabhu set out to find a solution. On her website, Prabhu states that she has “always been fascinated by the inner workings of the brain and how it impacts our lives…[ReThink] stops cyber-bullying at the source before the damage is done.”

Once the software is installed on a computer or smart-phone, it “uses patented context sensitive filtering technology” to determine whether or not a post an adolescent is about to post is offensive. Prabhu told ABC News that the technology is able to “understand the difference between ‘I hate Chicago’s weather,’ and ‘I hate you,’ because those are two different scenarios.”

When the…

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How to raise money with AR and VR

LAVREB Laboratory of Virtual Reality and Economic Behavior

How VR and AR Will Reinvent Consumer Electronics, Education, and Retail

We live in an age of disruption — industries will be transformed. This post (part 2 of 3) is a quick look at three multibillion-dollar industries (consumer electronics, education, retail) that are ripe for disruption this decade as a result of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Read last week’s post (part 1) here. Consumer Electronics — Displays/Screens. Today, displays (or screens) are everywhere. Your phone, computer, tablet, 50-inch living room TV, watch, etc. all use electronic displays to present digital information and entertaining content to your eyes, all day long. Most of these displays are fragile, typically glass, and expensive. The display market is projected to top $155 billion in 2020, dominated by companies like Apple, Samsung, LG and Sony. But this is about to change, disruptively. …..[READ]

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Do I really need it?

A date with an Amateur

new emoji

One fine Saturday evening I was having a nice get together with my friends on WHATSAPP ( read ‘digital get together’ 😀 ) when I received an update alert. I thought:

 “What could be the next big makeover after the whole enigmatic environment touch to the look and feel ?”

I accepted the challenge and the update started.

Later, I saw my Dad’s message with a thumbs up emoji. There was something different about it. So, I took the pain of going through the emoji dictionary to find out if there is any problem with my  screen  resolution or it is just one of Whatsapp’s new shenanigans. I discovered the unexpected.

Where the rest of the smileys were perfectly fine, the human manifestation of the emojis  had sub choices  and to my bewilderment – the choices were of different skin colors. Don’t believe me ? Just update yours and see…

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Motivation From: queenofhearts_777

Checkin Trapps | #Triumph

Don’t limit yourself, think big and continue to pursue your dreams and aspirations. Stay away from anyone who tells you it can’t be done, negative people will always try and keep you at their level. Rise above it all and find like minded individuals who will encourage and support your vision. Great things are are in store for those who never give up! It’s Thursday, get up, get out, and Go Get It! #TeamGoGetIt

#advice #attitude #ambition #ambitious #bossbabe #boutit #businessman #businesswoman #theimpossible #bosslady #bossstatus #successquotes #cantstop #determined #entrepreneurs #entrepreneurship #goaldigger #gogetter #hustlers #hustlehard #independentwoman #lawofattraction #moneymaker #nofear #nerdstatus #optimism #positivethinking #positiveenergy #myteam
by queenofhearts_777


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Motivation From: geneciaalluora

Checkin Trapps | #Triumph

Like if you agree. 😘👔 #businesspassion #business #toptags @top.tags #marketing #entrepreneurship #grind #hustle #learn #education #startup #marketing #success #successquotes #build #startuplife #businessowners #ambition #dream #goals #start #money #businessman #businesswoman #businesslife #entrepreneurlifestyle #goodlife #entrepreneur #motivated #businessowners #periscope
by geneciaalluora


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Microsoft HoloLens in Space: Take 2

Musings of a Mario Minion

It is now apparent that when the SpaceX rocket carrying two Microsoft HoloLens headsets exploded minutes after take off back in June, project manager Jeff Norris wasn’t having any of it. Orbital Sciences, the aerospace company tasked with supplying those aboard the space station with the next-gen headgear, have certified the items for another launch and aim to have them all wrapped up and ready for Christmas after their ascent on December 3rd.

hololensx519_2

Astronauts will use the HoloLens technology to work with experts on the ground in completing various unfamiliar tasks. Augmented reality instruction manuals as well as software that allows a real-time projection of scientists’ drawing over the visual field of the astronaut aim to reduce the time required to undertake new tasks. We’re on our way to realising the scenes dreamt up by 80’s sci-fi nerds, even if a lot of the tech will be used for having…

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Inventors: Become Curious Observers

Indeed.

ideaworth

I have observed that engineers, accountants, architects and other professionals who put many long, hard hours not only into their profession, but into continuing educations to maintain their skills in the marketplace. Makes perfect sense: to succeed and advance in today’s workplace you must maintain and hone your skills and knowledge.

Why do these same professionals think that inventing, as a profession, would be any less demanding and challenging?  But they do!

I frequently encounter new inventors who ask questions like:

  • Do I really need to file a patent? – You do if you are serious about your product.
  • Is one prototype enough? – No, why do you even ask?
  • How soon can I get paid if I submit my idea? – Never!

They always seem rather disappointed that they cannot simply sketch out an idea on a piece of paper, make one or two phone calls and have people knocking at…

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My Life Entries >> Day 18: The Fastest Human Invention Ever in History: The Helios

My Memoir Entries

Hey guys! I’m back after a crazy dinner last night xD I ate too much and stayed up too late ;( Ate so much food…. Had too much fish, too much pasta, too much pizza.. omg xD i feel disgusted. But guess what? At about 8:00am imma burn 1000 calories. YUP THAT’S RIGHT. I’m crazy like that :P. So ridiculous, most of the conversation last night was about the food we were eating and how many stars out of 49 we would give for each dish, what was wrong with it and what was good about it. Omg i felt like dying omg the food was awesome end of story xD, i don’t need deep philosophical thought about baked salmon xD, i could see some people just rolling eyes at the conversation topic xD hahha . So i was with other people of around my age group ( 18-20) and…

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CONFIDENCE – BRAINSTORM

8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence

8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence
Comment
SEPTEMBER 16, 2015

Successful people often exude confidence—it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first.

Think about it:

  1. Doubt breeds doubt. Why would anyone believe in you, your ideas, or your abilities if you didn’t believe in them yourself?
  2. It takes confidence to reach for new challenges. People who are fearful or insecure tend to stay within their comfort zones. But comfort zones rarely expand on their own. That’s why people who lack confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs and let valuable opportunities pass them by.
  3. Unconfident people often feel at the mercy of external circumstances. Successful people aren’t deterred by obstacles, which is how they rise up in the first place.

No one is stopping you from what you want to accomplish but yourself. It’s time to remove that barrier of self-doubt.

Related: 7 Challenges Successful People Overcome

Confidence is a crucial building block in a successful career, and embracing it fully will take you places you never thought possible. With proper guidance and hard work, anyone can become more confident. Once you pass a certain point, you’ll feel it from the inside.

Here are eight bulletproof strategies to get you there.

1. Take an honest look at yourself.

Johnny Unitas said, “There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.” In other words, confidence is earnedthrough hard work, and confident people are self-aware. When your confidence exceeds your abilities, you’ve crossed the line into arrogance. You need to know the difference.

True confidence is firmly planted in reality. To grow your confidence, it’s important to do an honest and accurate self-assessment of your abilities. If there are weaknesses in your skill set, make plans for strengthening these skills and find ways to minimize their negative impact. Ignoring your weaknesses or pretending they’re strengths won’t make them go away. Likewise, having a clear understanding of your strengths enables you to shake off some of the more groundless feedback and criticism you can get in a busy, competitive work environment—and that builds confidence.

2. Say no.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode confidence. Confident people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem to make their nos clear. When it’s time to say no, confident people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

3. Get right with your boss.

A troubled relationship with the boss can destroy even the most talented person’s confidence. It’s hard to be confident when your boss is constantly criticizing you or undermining your contributions. Try to identify where the relationship went wrong and decide whether there’s anything you can do to get things back on track. If the relationship is truly unsalvageable, it may be time to move on to something else.

Related: 5 Habits of Mentally Tough People

4. Seek out small victories.

Confident people tend to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. This increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases your confidence and your eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

5. Find a mentor.

Nothing builds confidence like a talented, experienced person showing you the way and patting you on the back for a job well done. A good mentor can act as a mirror, giving you the perspective you need to believe in yourself. Knowledge breeds confidence—knowing where you stand helps you focus your energy more effectively. Beyond that, a mentor can help educate you on some of the cultural inner workings of your organization. Knowing the unwritten rules of how to get things done in your workplace is a great confidence booster.

6. Schedule exercise.

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference. Schedule your exercise to make certain it happens, and your confidence will stay up.

7. Dress for success.

Like it or not, how we dress has a huge effect on how people see us. Things like the color, cut, and style of the clothes we wear—and even our accessories—communicate loudly. But the way we dress also affects how we see ourselves. Studies have shown that people speak differently when they’re dressed up compared to when they’re dressed casually. To boost your confidence, dress well. Choose clothing that reflects who you are and the image you want to project, even if that means spending more time at the mall and more time getting ready in the morning.

8. Be assertive, not aggressive.

Aggressiveness isn’t confidence; it’s bullying. And when you’re insecure, it’s easy to slip into aggressiveness without intending to. Practice asserting yourself without getting aggressive (and trampling over someone else in the process). You won’t be able to achieve this until you learn how to keep your insecurities at bay, and this will increase your confidence.

Bringing it all together

Your confidence is your own to develop or undermine. Confidence is based on reality. It’s the steadfast knowledge that goes beyond simply “hoping for the best.” It ensures that you’ll get the job done—that’s the power of true confidence.

Value for Money is a Myth

Feet First:

Value for money is a total, utter and complete myth. The fact that people use the phrase “value for money” means they have no idea what their product or service is worth.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in the desert, and you have a lunchbox with a single sandwich in it, and there is a man walking across the desert who is absolutely starving. He has been out in the desert for days, trying to find his way back to civilisation. Then, he spies you and moves in your direction and asks for help.

Now, what you are unaware of is that this man has a money clip with $10,000 in it. He obviously can’t eat the money, but once he meets you and sees your sandwich, he immediately offers you his entire money clip for your single sandwich. Imagine that: a $10,000 sandwich!

He…

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Income Inequality. How bad is it?

StudyEconomics

Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population (inequality.org). In a report by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), gross domestic product per person has grown in 19 core OECD countries by a total of 28 percent, but would have grown by 33 percent over the same period if inequality had not increased after 1985. As well as meaning that the lower income citizens in a country benefit less from growth, this also affects growth in countries as it undermines education for disadvantaged individuals as well as hampers skill development.

In the world today, Slovenia acts superior to the rest of the world when income inequality is called into question with a gini coefficient of 0.249 whilst South Africa has the highest income inequality with 0.65. United Kingdom (UK) is relatively income unequal and has a gini coefficient of…

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QUIRKED

The Rise and Fall of Quirky — the Start-Up That Bet Big on the Genius of Regular Folks

By

Photo: Courtesy of Quirky

One of the start-up world’s favorite words, in addition to disruptpivot, and on-demand, is community. Kickstarter identifies as “a community of people committed to bringing new things to life.” “The heart and soul of Etsy,” begins the About Etsy page, “is our global community.” Airbnb calls itself “the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company.” You’re not, in other words, just joining a platform where you can fund your screenplay, or hawk your hand-knit iPhone koozies, or rent your apartment — no, you’re belonging to something bigger than yourself.

But back in 2009, perhaps before the word had lost all meaning, a small-time-invention start-up called Quirky built a community that really acted like one. It told the first-world-problem solver in all of us — the one who thought up single-serve French-fry-makers and foldable coffee mugs and musical footballs while out walking the dog — that she no longer had to innovate in a vacuum. Anybody could join. On Quirky’s website, users would assess and workshop each other’s inventions. The most successful ideas, as determined by a vote, would be designed and built by the company. In some cases, the inventors made a lot of money. And it is for that tiny dreamer that the company’s recent death spiral feels like a true loss.

It all came to a head on what seemed like a typical Thursday evening this July, during the weekly Quirky ritual known as Eval. A studio audience of about 100 people gathered in the company’s former-rail-car-terminal headquarters in Chelsea. Lit by webcams from above and a bank of futuristic equipment behind, Quirky’s 28-year-old founder, Ben Kaufman, stood at a lectern in his usual black V-neck tee and announced a panel of product-evaluation experts by nickname: Anna “Make a Buck” Buchbauer, Justin “J-Bomb” Seidenfeld, Aaron Dignan, a.k.a. El Presidente. Ideas submitted and voted on by the Quirky community — watching the livestream from their living rooms — were presented via pitch videos and commentary from Kaufman: a voice-activated lightbulb, a paper-thin Bluetooth speaker that fits in your back pocket, an on-the-go beverage carbonator. The masterminds who won majority approval would hear the rallying mantra “Congratulations, you’re a Quirky inventor!” and have the chance to be like fellow Eval winner Garthen Leslie, a 63-year-old IT consultant from Columbia, Maryland. Leslie came up with the idea of a smart air conditioner during his morning commute, uploaded a rough diagram of the idea to the Quirky platform, and found the community waiting to help him refine it, suggesting additional features and weighing in on the sizing, specs, and the name, which would be Aros. And keeping with Quirky’s leave-the-rest-to-us business model, the company then patented, manufactured, marketed, and sold the unit into Walmart and Amazon, returning 10 percent of the profits to the inventor and those that played Watson to his Graham Bell (in this exceptional case, that’s amounted to more than $400,000 for Leslie and more than $200,000 for the community).

Quirky founder Ben Kaufman, center.

But this Thursday, July 16, it would turn out, was not an ordinary Eval. In fact, it would be the next to last one Kaufman ever did. Following the broadcast, he tacked on what he called an “after-party” — a.k.a. a crisis-management session aimed at addressing recent bad press that the company had gotten. In June, in a sweaty interview onstage at the Fortune Brainstorm conference, Kaufman admitted the company was all but “out of money,” which had once amounted to $185 million in funding from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and GE. In July came the news that nearly the entire New York City staff would be laid off. By August 1, Kaufman would officially step down from the company he started at age 22. It so happened that for every Aros-type success, the community had waved in many more duds like the Beat Booster, a wireless speaker with a built-in charging station that by one account cost the company $388,000 to develop but only sold about 30 units.

It’s not surprising that Kaufman used the word transparency no fewer than three times in the first five minutes of that after-party, the bottom line of which was that he frankly didn’t know if the company would survive — Quirky’s fate was in the investors’ hands. Because, for all the aspirational, rarefied Bushwick-bar vibes telegraphed by the Evals, Quirky was, of course, all about being real. Its cluster of a million members included folks like — to cite some of the most recent inventors featured on the website — Tony Lytle, a welder and proud grandfather from Larwill, Indiana, who’d dreamed up the Pawcett, a step-on drinking fountain for dogs; and Hadar Ferris, a licensed cosmetologist in Oceanside, California, responsible for decorative muffin-top molds called Bake Shapes; and Pennsylvania-based Navy veteran Jason Hunter, who gave birth to the Porkfolio app-enabled piggy bank. (In the age of artisanal everything, just as we want to know where our pickles were brined and our former-church-pew coffee tables were carved, here, too, was the meaningful personal backstory behind your magnetic bottle opener.)

Aros was a rare commercial success for Quirky.

A few weeks after he was ousted, Kaufman emailed with me from his first-ever personal email account: “It’s weird waking up one day and not even having an email address,” he later said on the phone. “This had been my whole life.” He was a small-time inventor himself at first, for a range of iPod accessories he started in high school that went on to become the company Mophie. At the 2007 Macworld Expo, he handed out pens and sketchpads and asked people to help design Mophie’s 2007 product line (sound familiar?) and then held a vote for the top three ideas. That same year, he sold Mophie, reappropriated the Macworld crowdsourcing schtick, and tried to launch a similar concept to Quirky. What helped Quirky finally get off the ground in 2009 was the recession-driven push for alternative incomes (no coincidence that Kickstarter as well as the entrepreneur-competition show Shark Tank, another bastion of scrappy innovation, also launched in 2009). Plus, there was more of a universal comfort with the practice of online sharing: We were now very used to telling our Facebook friends what we ate for breakfast, and by extension, we might as well tell the Quirky forum about our concept for a better egg-yolk extractor. Our notion of community, then, was evolving, and Kaufman — Mark Zuckerberg wrapped in a teddy-bear build, with the mischievous smile of your son or younger brother (depending on where you fell in Quirky’s wide-ranging age demographics) — was a relatable leader.

On the consumer end, seeing these ordinary tinkerers immortalized on the shelves of the Container Store (a big Quirky perk was that inventors’ names and faces appeared on their products’ packaging) was like watching the Spanx lady on QVC for the first time in the early aughts — a humble fax-machine salesperson from Clearwater, Florida, who just wanted to wear control-top pantyhose without the hose. Inventors were just like us! And now everybody could be the Spanx lady (albeit for only a tiny fraction of the profits), because unlike her, we didn’t have to side-hustle all alone. Next it could be my cousin in Westchester, who had four kids but no one to help her prototype her idea for a mother-baby bath towel. Next it could be my semi-retired father, who was in a private war with his never-shuts-properly pantry door and needed a constructive, supportive outlet for his aggression. Next it could be my friend Sarah, who was full of lightbulb moments — an Oreo-dunking robot claw, a universal key for all your locks — but was too stoned to sort through the mechanics by herself.

Quirky was catnip for the press: The Sundance Channel produced a short-lived reality show on the company in 2011. Kaufman appeared on Leno. This magazine featured it as a Boom Brand of 2013, noting, “It’s a pretty rare company that’s so hippieish — Let’s have everyone get a say! — yet so purely free-market.” The Times devoted several thousand words to a piece called “The Invention Mob, Brought to You by Quirky” just last February (by then its financially unsustainable business model had given way to a pivot — a smart-home subsidiary called Wink — that was too little too late).\

Another Times piece, from this past April, cited Quirky as a springboard for the realest of all Real People: older people. “There’s a boom in inventing by people over 50,” John Calvert, the executive director of the United Inventors Association, told the paper. And indeed, Quirky had plenty of them in its hive — like 59-year-old Lorin Ryle, a full-time caretaker for her dementia-stricken mother. When her clip-on baby monitor for the elderly won at Eval, she says she cried, watching from her Hutto, Texas, home. It never actually made it to development (in fact, only about half of the Eval winners ever do), but for Ryle that didn’t take away from the experience of “working with people to make something work,” she says. “I’ve made lifelong friends on there.” (Another Quirky boomer, Marc Rumaner, who came up with a nifty little wine-bottle anchor called Vine Stop, has even gone so far as to host barbecues for fellow community members in his Chicago area.)

Of course, the inmates didn’t always like running the asylum. There was much talk in the forums that the Eval system seemed too democratic. “I failed to see how any of us could know what a product scout from a company like GE or Mattel could know,” says one community member. And indeed, when you look at misfires like the Drift, a $200 wooden balance board that simulates snowboarding and surfing, or the $80 Egg Minder, an app-enabled egg tray that signals to your smartphone when you’re running low on eggs, it would appear that the company’s raison d’être was also the reason for its downfall, a colony of amateurs green-lighting unscalable solutions to nonexistent issues. Quirky brought more than 400 products to market in just six years.

Inside Quirky’s workshop.

Yet Kaufman points out that the community had much less say than all the high-pressure voting would suggest; the real decisions were made when the cameras stopped rolling and he and the actual experts did the math on a product’s marketability. (So, maybe not so much power to the people, after all.) But, he adds of Eval, “There had to be a thing to look forward to on a regular basis — otherwise how are you going to keep the community engaged?” Quirky steered the ship, you might say, but the community was still the North Star.

Steering the ship — handling all of the engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and retailing, even when you’re taking 90 percent of the subsequent profits — was ultimately too expensive of a proposition, especially in comparison to other, less-handholding-oriented start-ups. “The reason why Kickstarter makes a ton of money is they don’t have to do anything besides put up a website,” Kaufman notes. After that, the failure (and let’s face it, many Kickstarter-funded products go on to fail) is all on the individual. Which is not meant to be a dig, Kaufman clarifies. He won’t confirm his next venture but says, “I love Kickstarter.” And: “I will likely use it.”

Comfort or Freedom? The Smartphone Future

T H I N K Sam

One of the hardest decisions when walking into a communications store is which brand of phone is best for the type of content and use the user will produce. Two of the giants of this market are Apple and Android. The main difference between these two are apple being a Closed source platform, and the android being open source, which explains the way the device and services can be accessed, modified and used.

When the iPhone was released, Steve Jobs released a philosophy detailing his disinterest with the flow of content amoungst multiple platforms being available on his device. The app market for both platforms is a great example, as the android market allows user input with no gatekeepers to content, where As detailed by Jonathan Zittrain, ”   the App Store has a catch: app developers and their software must be approved by Apple. If Apple does…

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