Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Posted: 25 Oct 2009 12:07 PM PDT
I am pretty sure that Google will someday rule the world. And while my "less governance is better governance" belief runs through every vein...I do have to say, "hail to the king!"
Here's why your business needs to have a Google account:
Google Local Business Center (www.google.com/lbc): The LBC is a free tool that enables business owners to control the content of their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps. All you have to do is claim your listing in the LBC and go through a quick verification process to get access to the following kinds of data:
- Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
- Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business' website or requested driving directions to the business.
- Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for "tea" or "coffee"?
- Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/): Google Analytics is a web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness.
Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.
Google Docs (docs.google.com): is a free, Web-based word processing, spreadsheet, presentation and form application offered by Google. You can import your existing documents, spreadsheets and presentations, or create new ones from scratch. You can invite people to your documents and make changes together, at the same time.
Google Calendar (calendar.google.com):
- Share your schedule- web based
- Get your calendar on the go
- Never forget another event again with built in reminders via email or text
- Send invitations and track RSVPs
- Sync with your desktop applications(Outlook, iCal and Sunbird)
- Work offline
Google Mail or GMail (mail.google.com): Gmail is the Google approach to email and chat. Practically unlimited free online storage allows you to collect all your messages, and Gmail's simple but very smart interface lets you find them precisely and see them in context without effort. POP and powerful IMAP access bring Gmail to any email program or device.
And I'm not even going to get into Google Wave, AdWords, or AdSense. If you want to read more about ALL of Google's tools, check out their Google Business Solutions page.Bottom line -- no business but especially no small or local business can afford not to take advantage of Google's free tools. Don't miss out.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
from Seth Godin this week:
Dunbar's Number isn't just a number, it's the law
Dunbar's number is 150.
And he's not compromising, no matter how much you whine about it.
Dunbar postulated that the typical human being can only have 150 friends. One hundred fifty people in the tribe. After that, we just aren't cognitively organized to handle and track new people easily. That's why, without external forces, human tribes tend to split in two after they reach this size. It's why WL Gore limits the size of their offices to 150 (when they grow, they build a whole new building).
Facebook and Twitter and blogs fly in the face of Dunbar's number. They put hundreds or thousands of friendlies in front of us, people we would have lost touch with (why? because of Dunbar!) except that they keep digitally reappearing.
Reunions are a great example of Dunbar's number at work. You might like a dozen people you meet at that reunion, but you can't keep up, because you're full.
Some people online are trying to flaunt Dunbar's number, to become connected and actual friends with tens of thousands of people at once. And guess what? It doesn't scale. You might be able to stretch to 200 or 400, but no, you can't effectively engage at a tribal level with a thousand people. You get the politician's glassy-eyed gaze or the celebrity's empty stare. And then the nature of the relationship is changed.I can tell when this happens. I'm guessing you can too.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Posted: 22 Oct 2009 07:17 AM PDTSo you want to make a great impression at work, this article offers you five great ways to do so. However, this article is not only about making a great impression; it’s also about embodying that impression. By simultaneously using the five keys below, you will not only get noticed as a top-notch employee, but you will actually become a better employee and/or boss.
Making a great impression on the job is both an important and worthy goal. Why is it so important? Because companies and bosses will usually promote, help, and retain employees who make favorable impressions.
Here are five ways that you can make a great impression at work:
- Come Early or Leave Late
Try to consistently arrive at work 15 minutes early, or leave 15 minutes late. What are the benefits? You will have more time to accomplish more work. In addition, people will actually begin to believe that you’re a hard worker.
People who work just a little later, or come in just a little earlier, are perceived to be more dedicated, loyal and concerned (even if they’re not); perception really is reality. Working just a few minutes more a day sends a silent positive message to all of your co-workers that you’re a dedicated employee.
“Everything you do sends a message.”
Just an additional 15 minutes is often enough to make you the first person to arrive in your department, or the last person to leave. With this additional time you can organize your day, or plan your tomorrow.When trying to make a great impression at work, this is a great first tip as long as you use the extra time productively.
- Dress to Impress Everyday
Image is everything; people see who you are before they hear who you are. People in general, right or wrong, assign more positive traits to a person who has a neat and clean appearance than a person who has a sloppy appearance. People who dress to impress are assumed to more intelligent, astute, and judicious (even if they’re not).
It’s important that you “package” yourself for where you want to go. If you’re trying to become a manager in your department, and all of the manager’s where sports coats or pantsuits, then you should probably do the same. Give the impression that you’re already “one of them,” and you’re just being underpaid.
In addition, dressing your best helps you to feel your best, and when you feel your best, you will perform at your best.
- Keep an Organized To-Do List and Office
Always keep “order” around everything you do. Order means the accurate arrangement of things.
Organize your “to-do” lists in a way that gives your most important task your greatest and best attention. Let your employer know that you’re organized and that you always prioritize. An organized and prioritized “to-do” lists will help ensure that you never miss a meeting, task, or deadline.
In addition, be sure to keep your office tidy (but not so tidy that it looks like you’re not busy). An organized desk represents an organized person. A messy desk represents…well, you know. Keep your area presentable, this will go along way in giving you a great impression at work. Remember, everything you do, sends a message.
- Get Educated
What certifications and degrees do the supervisors and managers have where you’re employed? Find out how you can get those same certifications; some certifications are relatively easy to attain, I recommend you get those first.
You’ll have to go back to school in order to get a degree, but if you’re looking to move forward it’s best to strategically position yourself sooner rather than later.
Once again, the more certifications and degrees you have the more intelligent you will be perceived, so if you want to make a great impression and increase your chances of getting promoted, be sure to get educated.
- Become the Boss's Right-Hand Man/Woman
Every boss wants a protégé, or at least an assistant. Try to become the right-hand man or woman; find out what your boss needs and wants. No, I am not talking about getting coffee, I'm talking about the needs they may have as it pertains to the business. If they need a strategic thinker, try to be one, etc.
You will only be rewarded in this life for the problems that you solve for others. Discover the “work related problems” your boss is encountering and come up with ways to solve those problems.
These problems could be quite simplistic, but determine to make your boss’s job easier. Even if you’re an executive, with a high six-figure salary, if your boss needs a “copy” of a document, and you’re the only one around, it’s probably a good idea to help him or her out.
Get involved in special projects, go outside of your basic job responsibilities and make a difference in your group or department. Leaders are always needed; find out how you can make a difference. Be the change you want to see on your job.
- Special Bonus: Be Positive
Your attitude really does determine your altitude. People like hanging around positive, high-energy individuals, so be sure to always see the glass as half-full, this will certainly benefit you on your job.
Finally, don’t wait for someone to come tap-you-on-your-shoulder and tell you that it’s time for you to be promoted, decide to take charge of your career, let people know what your plans are, find out the requirements needed to get where you’re going, get others involved in helping you attain these requirements, and soon you will be on your way to being where you want to be.
Success comes to those who plan it, so plan your success today. Thank you for reading, and please feel free to add some additional tips below.
Monday, October 26, 2009
How much time do you spend on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites? It’s estimated that Robert Scoble spent over 2,555 hours on Friendfeed and Twitter in 2008, which is way more than a normal full-time job (2,000 hours).
Photo by Thomas Hawk
Robert has essentially worked a full-time job with overtime for these two companies, pro bono. And don’t kid yourself into thinking that he’s the only one either.
But here’s the kicker: people like Mr. Scoble spend
a lot unhealthy amounts of time building up profiles on sites they don’t even own.
Those of us who have spent enough time around the web realize that sites and services come and go, and to trust that one will be around forever is absolutely bonkers. Friendfeed, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter… who knows what these sites will be in the next 10 years.
Sure, one could argue that Robert’s involvement on these 3rd party sites ultimately improves his personal brand. But if Friendfeed goes under, so does all those hours Robert spent on the site. Poof. Heck, Friendfeed was purchased by Facebook in August. Who knows what the future of Friendfeed?
The best way to safeguard yourself into losing everything you’ve worked so hard to create is to become your own platform, and not rely solely on a third-party to publish your content online.
Creating Your Platform
If you’re going to be a “creator” on the web, you can’t put your faith in a single platform like Facebook or Twitter. You’ve got to create your own.
I’m a huge fan of Twitter, and it’s an incredible tool to connect and gain an audience. When you put all your content’s eggs in one basket, you’re putting yourself at a huge risk. While I don’t think sites like Twitter or Facebook are going to go away any time soon (knock on wood), we don’t know how this Web thing will turn out. You may find in 20 years that all those hours you spent creating content on Tumblr or Twitter might just be lost for good.
But more importantly, when you’re trying to brand yourself, it doesn’t help when people only see you as a Twitter user first. You want YOUR brand first then the platform, not the other way around.
Be Everywhere, But Don’t Live Everywhere
Photo by Evil Erin
I can already hear the next question asked: “So how do you develop a following and gain attention without leveraging popular platforms like Twitter and Facebook?”
You’re right: you have to utilize them. You just can’t rely on them. It’s a fine line to walk.
Sure, you still need to be on other platforms. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and a few other places. But I don’t live there. Those places only help my personal brand. They’re only tiny pieces of my digital identity. Sure, it would stink if one of those places shut down one day, but I’d still have my own personal platform.
But where I spend most of my time is working on things that are 100% my own. If Twitter is ever bought by Nazis, I’ll still have LifeDev. Or Web Jackalope.
Note: I have no idea if Nazis are interested in a Twitter purchase, but from what I hear everyone is giving Twitter offers these days. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nazis haven’t put in a bid too. But I think we can all agree that if Twitter was run by Nazis, we would all spend a LOT less time there. And we’d really regret all the previous time we spent sending tweets.
It’s Not Just Me
Look at the really successful content producers on the web who have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Sure, they tweet often and keep their followers engaged. But you can bet your biscuits they spend twice as much time creating content for their blogs and own sites.
Here are a couple easy tips to creating a personal brand that’s invincible to the ever-changing winds of the Internet landscape.
Make it about YOU. If you’re going to use 3rd party services like Twitter, try and make the focal point of the pages you by adding a unique design that mirrors your brand in some way. I tried to do this as much as possible with both my personal Twitter profile and Web Jackalope’s Twitter profile with designs that were similar to the original sites.
Keep the balance. Be conscious of how much time you’re spending on third-party sites as opposed to creating your own content. Try making a 1:1 rule, where for every 20 minutes you spend on Twitter/Facebook, etc., you’re spending 20 minutes writing content on your own site.
Point back to you. Virtually all social media and social news sites allow you to create profiles where you can point to your site. Make sure all the 3rd-party services point to your own domain.
Own, Don’t Rent
Photo by turkeychik
When it comes to online presence, you want to be an owner, not a renter of your brand. Just like in the housing industry, there are plenty of reasons that renting is appealing. If you’re an online renter, you don’t have to worry about servers, design, or many other things. But at the end of the day, you still don’t own anything.
All the resources that you put into building profiles at social networking sites and gaining followers show for nothing if the platform crashes.Be your own platform, and reap the benefits.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Posted: 18 Oct 2009 06:40 AM PDTI'm going to start off by being very honest, I'm currently broke. I was expecting to get a scholarship that I didn't get, went on a trip that I probably shouldn't have gone on, and bought a certain someone special a present I couldn't afford. That's $4k in the hole, and no regrets, but a bit of a mess to clean up after.
I'm proactively trying to get myself out of the hole before I start dental school next year (see update). Once I start, I'll be about $70K-$90K in the hole per year, so it won't really matter, but it matters now. My goal is to get my credit card paid off, save up a small emergency fund, and establish a few passive streams of income before school starts and I'm a slave with no spare time.
I'll get into a couple of ways I'm earning money right now, but the general point is that self-improvement doesn't have to stop just because you're broke as a joke. Some ways to improve yourself are free, some are cheap, and some actually earn you money!
- Talk is cheap.
Actually talk can be worth anywhere from a few cents a minute on skype to free if you're face to face. Being broke is a perfect opportunity to work on your relationships. You don't have to take your friend, or romantic interest on a super expensive date, you can do something simple like get to know what they're really about and what's going on with them. People like nothing more than to talk about themselves, and they're willing to pay professionals a lot of money to just listen to them, so you could be delivering a lot of value to your friends for free!
- Exercise burns.
Exercise burns your calories, but it doesn't have to burn your wallet. You can invest in a $30 pair of cross-training sneakers, which can last you awhile if you don't run through swamps and they're practical for several sports. I maintain a really good deal at Bally's for $15 a month for life (after paying $60/month for 3 years awhile ago), so I don't see myself canceling that. However, you can create a 30-minute morning routine without any weight, using just kalesthetics, and maintain a healthy lifestyle for nothing.
- Bottle it.
Invest a couple of bucks towards a large waterbottle, or reuse a plastic one you bought earlier, and fill it up with filter/tap water. Drink nothing but the water, avoiding alcohol and coffees which dehydrate you, make you fat, and add up in cash-money if you're a consistent consumer. It's a great way to keep your organs optimally hydrated while saving a lot of money.
Find areas around your house, such as local parks and landmarks that you can go to for free. You're out there getting your daily walk, taking in the fresh air, and paying nothing to enjoy mother nature. This is a great way to spend time alone, with a friend, or to get to know a special someone. You'll be surprised how much 30 minutes of walking can improve your overall health, focus, and feelings of well-being. I actually journaled how I felt for 30 straight days of 30 minute walks and it was enlightening to see the full progress after the 30 days.
- Reading is free.
That's a big statement to make considering I have shelves and shelves worth of self-improvement books in my room that have a combined cost of hundreds of dollars. However, there's always the library that has a large selection of great books and audio tapes that I like to frequent. Return books on time and it doesn't cost you a penny.
- Work on skills and talents.
Some skills and talents are quite expensive to indulge in. Painting requires expensive utensils, racing requires fuel, singing may require instruments or recording equipment. Other skills can be worked on while saving or earning you money. Want to practice social skills? Work at a nightclub on weekends. Want to improve your cooking skills? Volunteer to cook at an elderly people's home in your spare time. Use your imagination and find a creative outlet that works for you.
- Cook your own.
The best way to get healthy food into your system is to cook that food, instead of eating out at a restaurant. Find a cheap place, such as a farmers market, to purchase fruits and vegetables. Make these the cornerstones of your meals, taking up at least 90% of your caloric intake. You'll save money, you'll fill yourself with nutritious food, and you'll be able to impress friends or a date with a frugal meal that you created with your own hands instead of spending money on restaurants.
- Character development.
Use this opportunity to do some journaling and introspection. Decide what kind of person you want to be, with what kind of virtues and ethics. Decide how you want to be seen by people, and how you would like to treat others. Create a list of rules that you will not budge from which will slowly but surely take you towards your goals.
This can be a very fulfilling way to pass time while meeting some kindhearted and down to earth people. You're actively spending time improving the quality of someone's life while absorbing joy from the experience. Wow, what a great deal. They should start charging to volunteer. In my case I'm volunteering/interning twice a week at one of the dental schools I applied to. There's no doubt that I'm helping them out there but I'm also learning a lot and most importantly networking with great contacts.
- Writing Pays.
Invest a little bit of money into a personal website. You don't have to pay more than $3-5 per month, and you can find a free theme to use. Either create a blog about something you're passionate about, or use it as a portfolio of your writing. Survey all the websites that write about topics you would be interested in, and start submitting your writing. Unleashing you're creativity through the process of writing is an excellent way to improve your train of thought.