Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm on the board of directors for the Fort Wayne AdFed and one of the purposes is to create opportunities and comradery in the advertising world.
Another is to provide scholarships to students who are looking to join this profession.
We have some really fun fund raising events, some are more fun than fund raising, but every bit helps.
Thursday is our second annual TinCaps game, click on the pic for details and you are invited to join us!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Every morning for the past two years I have featured a "Fort Wayne Site of the Day" on this site.
It's part of my contribution to a New Way of sharing and building our community.
But this evening, I want to continue with an essay from someone else who is trying to establish a New Way of working in Fort Wayne. This is from the OurSpaceFW.com site:
Sunday afternoons are reserved for the woods. I enjoy hiking on several trails within Northeast Indiana, observing animals, swatting bugs and identifying plants. Together, the squirrels, deer, mosquitoes, butterflies, elms and maples make up the ecosystem. Some species are small, while others are large, but together they make up an incredible force.
Attorneys, accountants, engineers, educators, nurses and doctors are like mature trees within Fort Wayne’s landscape, as they seem to be the occupations that have stood tall within this city. Their roots run deep as these traditionalists have provided necessary services and employment opportunities to area residents. However, as the wind has begun to blow, new occupations are being prized within this city and beyond. Photographer, film maker, writer and social media optimizer are the seedlings in the area that are being coveted, as there is the notion of the right-brain uprising. Consider this interesting fact, the number of professional photographers taking senior portraits and wedding shots I have seen downtown this summer, have equaled or surpassed the number of medium-large sized legal firms within the same vicinity; in fact, the number of new business filings, obtained from the City-County Building within the last three months show there zero law firms formed and six photography businesses developed.
Visionary entrepreneurs are like the paths in the woods; they are steadfast, taking individuals from point A to point B, allowing participants to engage with the trees and seedlings. These business professionals, elegant yet edgy, create work of arts that embrace modern technology and utilize talented professionals. Ultimately, they guide leaders to the destination not yet recognized, but well-liked when obtained.
Trees, seedlings and paths all make up the woods. Naturalist understand to leave a legacy, we must nurture the seedlings and maintain the paths, while caring for the trees, or the woods will suffer from corrosion and no one will be able to enjoy it. Together, if we wish to see the unprecedented level of artistic businesses and visionary entrepreneurship continue, we leaders must provide ongoing education, tax incentives, community ties and overall support, or like a hiker on a Sunday afternoon, these individuals – who Fort Wayne has dreamt about – will pack their bags and hop in their vehicles and leave for the next available town, where the naturalists deeply care about their woods.
Read more here.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
If you don't know who he is, I challenge you to discover Seth. I have several of his books including his latest Linchpin.
Last night I was going thru some old emails and found this from his blog from April:
Josh Bernoff is a generous guy with an unusual hobby... he likes to make book indices.
Safer than juggling knives, that's for sure.
Josh just posted the missing index for my book Linchpin. Usually, the publisher does the index, and I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't realized it was missing. Now I'm glad it's here.
Two asides about the book: The full-length audio (itunes, audible) is probably the best reading of one of my books. Audio books work (for me) when you can listen to them more than once. I listened to my Zig Ziglar tapes more than a hundred times each--and I'm glad I did. And the hardcover, (bn) I'm told, is selling twice as fast as any book I've ever published. Thanks for that.
Enjoy the index! Special thanks to Josh for making it happen.
And tomorrow I'm going to share a posting from a Fort Wayne blog that is trying to start a new way in my hometown,
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This is a bit self-serving. See, last month I got a Droid and I'm often looking for ways to tweak it and find apps that will allow me to use it the way I want to use it.
I know a lot of folks, including my step-daughter have iPhones, but I wanted to stick with Verizon.
So a couple of days ago, I found this from the MakeUseOf.com website:
Top 5 Sites to Help You Find Apps for Your Android Phone
One thing that Google likes to be known for is speed. In fact, their Android phones have taken off so fast that they have yet to release a full-featured app store to the public. While their current Android Market serves its purpose, it’s hardly iTunes. The organization and efficiency with which Apple runs its app store is one of the reasons the iPhone is the most popular phone on the market year in and year out.
I don’t imagine it will take Google very long to catch up (I did say they were fast), but until then, it would be nice to have some alternatives to finding killer apps for your Android phone.
In this article, I am going to share the top websites for finding the best Android applications. These sites should hold you over until Google releases their app store to the public.
[Note]: If you aren’t impressed by any of the apps you find in the Android Market, why don’t you try writing your own? Who knows, your app could end up on these websites in the near future.
The current Android Market is a good place to start. As you’ll see, there isn’t too much organization here, but the site does display all of the top ranked applications and games. You can click on the Top Free tab, which allows you to view all of the top free apps by their respective categories.
Clicking on an app will display screenshots of it off to the right, as well as a small description of the application and the name of its developer(s). I’d assume that this would be the location of the future Google app store, but it’s hard to assume anything like that with Google.
Android Zoom is an even better alternative to the current Android Market in my opinion. Paul covered AndroidZoom in his 6 Android Websites You Should Check Out article back in January. (Also see AndroLib)
With AndroidZoom, you can view all of the latest Android applications and sort them by the newest, most popular, and highest rated. You can also separate them by free and paid, along with selecting from the different categories on the left-hand side of the page.
Click on an app and you are taken to a screen where you can view a short description, see related apps, and download. When you click Download, you are taken to a page that gives you three options.
You can use a QR code scanner and take a picture of the image (with your phone) to download the app, follow directions to manually install from the Android Market, or receive a direct download link on your phone’s email.
Cyrket provides application statistics for all of the apps in the Android Market. The default sort method is alphabetical, so don’t let it scare you when you visit the page and only see Chinese symbols. You can sort the listings by most expensive, least expensive, popularity, and highest rating. You can also opt to see only the free apps.
When you click on an app, you are taken to a screen with the app’s description, screenshots, and a long thread of users’ comments that you can use to get feedback.
101 Best Android Apps is another great place to get information and ratings on a lot of Android applications. Apps are sorted by many different categories (e.g. Business, Education) and topics (e.g. Music, News) and you can choose to see the best rated apps by day, week, month, or all time.
The site allows you to rate apps and it provides very nice, large screenshots. If you click more info, you can view a few more screen shots, a description, and comments.
AppBrain has lists and lists of Android apps. You can view all the hottest apps, the latest ones, or pick your favorite categories. Reviews and download information accompany the apps and you can utilize the search feature to find what you’re looking for.
If you create an account on AppBrain (links your Google account), you can enjoy added benefits. With an account, you can easily install and manage your apps directly from the web browser, sync your apps easily with their native Android app, and share the apps installed on your phone with your friends.
What do you think of the sites listed? Did I forget any? Will you be utilizing any of these resources for your Android application needs? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and comments below!
Image Credit: lwallenstein
(By) Steven Campbell - a tech enthusiast and social media blogger. Check out his Social Branding Blog
Monday, July 19, 2010
Plus I've been involved in the buying and selling of cars for my wife, and kids and quite frankly, I really don't like it. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I keep my current car.
I've never bought a new car either. Seems like a waste of money.
But one day, I'll need to buy one again and here's some tips from the AOM blog:
How to Negotiate for a Used Car
- They can make money on the front end of the purchase by selling the car for more than what they paid to buy it.
- They can make money on the back end, selling you things like financing, extended warranties, and dealer add-ons like rustproofing.
- If the dealer includes trade-in value, they can make money on the difference between what they pay for your car and what they get when they sell it.
A couple of months ago, I wrote about how to buy a used car. I went through all the steps except for negotiating because it’s a topic deserving of its very own post. A post which I’ll tackle today.
Now to begin, here’s my honest confession: I suck at negotiating.
And it becomes really apparent whenever I negotiate for big purchase items like cars. When Kate and I had to buy a “new” car last year, I stunk it up. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I was actually excited about the chance to improve my negotiating chops. I felt ready to walk into the dealership and make a deal.
But I punted. When the dealer started putting out numbers, I hemmed and hawed.
Thankfully, Kate is a kickass negotiator. I think it’s her Italian heritage that makes her so good. Maybe the Polish. I don’t know. She’s just good at it. She saw that I was flubbing it up and took over the reins and got us a good deal.
As we drove away in our new car, I’ll admit that my manly ego was bruised. And I could tell Kate was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to take the lead.
I thought, “I’m the man damnit! I should know how to negotiate and not have to let my wife do it.”
Perhaps that’s not too mature. I’m definitely lucky to have a wife who knows how to haggle like an Arabian bazaar merchant. But I’d like to be able to hold my own in this arena as well.
So I used the experience to double down on my efforts to improve my bargaining skills. In an effort to prepare myself for the next time we have to buy a car, I did some research, asked guys I know for their negotiating tips, and went along with a friend who was buying a car. Here’s what I learned along the way.
Knowledge Is Power
In the negotiation game, knowledge is truly power. And in the car buying business, the car salesman usually has the most information. Think about it. When the average buyer walks into the dealer, he’ll immediately divulge to the salesman which car he wants, how much he can pay per month, and which vehicle he’s trading in.
Meanwhile, the salesman gives away no information that would help the buyer. Information like how much the car really cost the dealership, how low they’ll really sell it for, or what’s the real value on the buyer’s trade-in.
Who do you think’s going to get the better deal in this scenario? The dealer, of course. He’s the one with all the information!
Thus, to minimize the amount you pay for a car, you need to do two things: 1) hold your cards close by not telling the dealer exactly what you’re looking for or how much you’re willing to pay and 2) find out as much information about the car you want to buy before you walk into the dealership.
Know How Dealers Make Their Money
When you’re talking with a dealer, it’s important to know that dealers make money three different ways with each customer.
Most buyers just focus on #1. However, car dealers might actually make more money on numbers #2 and #3. Thus, when you start negotiating for a used car, take into account things like financing and the trade-in value of your current car when calculating the final price.
How to Negotiate for a Used Car
Buy cars that are at least two years old. Why two years old? Well, they’re new enough that they still look nice and probably don’t have a lot of problems. But more importantly, a new car’s wholesale value drops between 45 and 55 percent of its original sticker price after two years. What a bargain!
Read Consumer Reports annual auto issue. Consumer Reports annual auto issue comes out every April and has a used car section that gives you info like lists of most reliable and least reliable used cars and frequency-of-repair records for recent model years. This information can help you create a list of used cars you want to check out.
Get the big picture value. Once you have a list of possible used cars, get an idea of how much they generally go for by checking the Kelley Blue Book’s Guide to Used Cars and the National Automobile Dealer’s Official Used Car Guide. Don’t just rely on the website versions of these value guides. The websites won’t give you a car’s wholesale price, just the retail value. The wholesale price is what dealers use to determine how much they should pay for a car. After paying the wholesale price, dealers jack the price up for retail. You want to buy the used car for as close to the wholesale price as possible.
However, don’t take these values too literally. The values in the Blue Book or Official Used Car Guide don’t reflect the specific situation in your specific market. For example, your town might have a glut of Astro Minivans (Why are you buying an Astro Minivan?), so the price on those will be less than the blue book value. So you’ll need to…
Fine tune your estimate. Find out what the going price is for the cars you want in your area. Check out autotrader.com for prices in your area.
Check the dealerships to see if they have the car. Look on autotrader.com, call around to the dealerships or check their websites to see if they have the used car you want and what they’re asking for it. If they have the car you’re looking for, swing by the car lot and write down the car’s Vehicle Identification Number. You’ll need it later.
CarFax. Get one. CarFax gives a comprehensive report of a vehicle’s history. The report will tell you how many owners the car has had or if it’s had any accidents. That sort of info can help get you a lower price (or steer you away from the car altogether). For example, if the car belonged to a rental fleet, it probably had a bunch of different drivers who had varying degrees of driving skills. Some may have gunned the engine at stoplights and others might have kept their foot on the brake. Bottom line, an old rental car has a lot more wear and tear than a similar car that had only one owner (especially of the old lady variety). Consequently, the old rental car should have a considerably lower price than the one owner car.
To get a CarFax report, just visit CarFax and enter the Vehicle Identification Number. They cost $34.99, so try having the dealer get it for you. “Show me the Carfax” seems to work on tv.
Research financing rates before you walk into the dealer. Ideally, you should pay in cash when buying a used car, but sometimes you just don’t have ten grand lying around to blow in one fell swoop. That’s when auto financing will come in handy and car dealers would love to help you finance your new used car. Remember that dealers make money on the back end by getting you signed up with dealership financing. A bank actually funds the loan, but the dealer acts as a middleman who gets a commission for signing you up. Consequently, the salesman will pressure you to finance with the dealer.
But here’s the deal. You don’t have to finance your car with the dealer. You can use any bank that you want. To avoid the pressure of inking a car loan at the dealership, shop around for different auto loan rates. Check your bank. When the dealer starts pushing you to the little finance office, you can tell them you’ve already been approved for a car loan and what the interest rate is on that loan.
Of course, the dealership still wants to get that commission from their bank, so they’ll start negotiating auto loan rates with you. You might even get a better deal going with the dealer. Who knows! Just have your financing ready before you step foot on the car lot. You’ll save yourself some money.
Take care of the trade-in. If you’re going to trade-in a car to buy your new used car, do some research on your current car. You want to get as much money as you can on the trade-in. Dealerships will low ball you on the price so they can turn around and sell it for a hefty profit. Ask for the wholesale price or as near to wholesale price as you can. Again, to find the wholesale price on your car, check out Kelly Blue Book or the Official Used Car Guide.
If you don’t want to deal with the dealer, you can always sell the car yourself at retail price. It’s a bigger hassle, but you might get more money that way.
Time to start dealing. Alright. You know the wholesale/retail price and the going price for the car in your area. You also have a few auto loans with competitive rates lined up. It’s time to do business.
Step into the dealership with a set “walking price” fixed in your head. If the dealer refuses to meet this price, you know you’re walking away.
If you’re shopping as a couple, make sure you’re both on the same page and get your “routine” down. When one person gets up to walk, the other gets up too. You don’t want one person hard balling while the other jumps in with, We’ll take it!”
Make an offer. Most dealers build about 20% gross margin into the used car’s asking price. That means they ask for 20% more than what they paid for it. So offer 15% below the asking price. Tell the salesman you know that there’s about a 20% gross margin in the price and that you want him to make a profit, but you’re not going to let him take you to the cleaners.
Then zip your lip. Just stare at the salesman and wait for him to speak. Don’t hem or haw like I did. That just lets the salesman know you’re not confident with your offer.
He’ll probably say stuff like, “But our asking price is lower than the retail price! You’re getting a great deal!”
Tell him, “I don’t care about the retail price. I care about the wholesale price and what you paid for it. The closer we can get to that wholesale price, the more likely I’ll drive out of this lot with this car.”
He may act insulted. He may go to the back to confer with his manager. Remember, he’s going to make you feel like you’re bleeding him dry and he’s doing everything he can to bring the price down. Don’t let guilt or obligation get to you. This is business. You want to buy a car; he wants to sell one. If he doesn’t like your offer, he won’t take it. No harm done.
Point out things that might make the car hard to sell. Dealers want to move the cars off the lot, the faster, the better. Point out how unpopular a standard transmission is or that the car doesn’t even have a CD player or how there’s a big tear in the seat. Say, “That’s going to make the car hard to sell, but I’m willing to drive it off the lot right now for x price.”
If he counters with a higher number, ask for 10% below the asking price. If he counters again, tell him you have an appointment to see the exact same car with another dealer and walk out the door. Before you leave, give him your phone number and tell him to call you if he changes his mind. He’ll probably call. A profit is a profit, no matter how slim it is.
Turn down dealer add-ons. If you’re buying a used car from a dealer, they’re going to try to sell you a bunch of add-ons like rustproofing or detailing. Just say no. If you live in a place that requires a rustproofing, you can probably do it cheaper somewhere else.
Be ready to walk away. In any negotiation, be ready to walk away. Be flexible in your choice and don’t get too attached to one car. Remember, there are plenty more automotive fish in the sea.
Have any more used car negotiation tips? Share them with us in the comments.Check Out These Related Posts:
Sunday, July 18, 2010
From the DLM Blog:
Posted: 16 Jul 2010 09:39 AM PDT
Have you ever made a stupid decision? Of course you have - we all have!
There is no shame in making the occasional stupid decision; that's part of being human. But if you want to save money, increase your productivity, or simply stay sane, you would do well to reduce the number and frequency of those stupid decisions.
Put another way, you would do well to make smarter decisions. You don't need to be smarter to make smarter decisions (in fact, a lot of smart people make make a lot of stupid decisions), but by simply remembering the following five techniques, you can make smarter decisions starting right now.
- Question Everything
Blindly following advice without understanding it is the heart of folly. Many people never questioned the advice of, "owning a home is better than renting." When the real estate market collapsed, so too did their financial lives. I'm not saying that bit of advice is wrong, but if you don't question it and understand why it's true, you may end up making a very bad decision for yourself.
This doesn't mean you need to be annoying and argue over every little point. But even if you only do it in your own head, ask some basic questions about a) the things others tell you and b) the things you tell yourself. Just because someone you know and respect tells you something doesn't make it true. Just because you have been telling yourself something for years doesn't make it true either.
If you're making decisions based on faulty assumptions, your decisions will be faulty too. Question those assumptions, and your decisions will automatically get better.
- Do Some Research
In the day and age of Google, there are only two reasons to not do a little research: 1) you're stupid 2) you're lazy. Feel free to make whatever life choices you want, but to me those sound like pretty bad reasons.
It is so easy to research anything on the internet: companies you are thinking about working for, neighborhoods you want to move to, products you want to buy, services you want to use, restaurants you want to go to...the list goes on and on. Heck, these days with sites like Facebook companies can even research the personal lives of their prospective employees' personal lives!
Granted, you can't take everything you read on the internet as the absolute truth. But find some trusted sites, do some research, and realize you have very little excuse to ever say, "but I didn't know!"
- Consider the Other Side of the Argument
If you want to be smarter and make better decisions, then you would do well to realize that there are two sides to every argument. If you feel strongly about something, you should spend at least some time trying to understand the other side.
This is not intuitive or easy to do. Usually when you have an opinion your instinct is to run out and find as much supporting evidence for that opinion. The problem is that this approach doesn't make you smarter, it just makes you more opinionated.
By truly considering the other side of a debate you gain three benefits:
- You learn where the other side is coming from so you can communicate (not "argue") with them better.
- You can learn some new things to make you further believe in your own point.
- You may find yourself being swayed to some or all of the "other side"
Of course this third reason is why people are so reluctant to consider the other side - we don't want to take the chance that we'll have our minds changed. There's a term for people who don't expose themselves to ideas because they are afraid of them: "closed-minded." I think another term for it is, "stupid."
Knowledge in and of itself is not harmful. Lack of knowledge, on the other hand, can be deadly. If your ideas are so fragile that learning about the opposition can tear them apart, then why the heck are you holding on to them anyway?
- Realize Other People's Bias
Seeking advice from others is a good thing, but never forget that you are talking to a human, not a computer. Everyone has their own experiences, opinions, and prejudices. This, of course, leads to personal bias.
For example, I have been in a few conversations about online dating over the years. I have a friend who met a woman on eHarmony, they started dating, and eventually got married. He wrote an article about making the most of online dating, and he gives eHarmony his highest recommendation (no surprise). I later sat with two woman at a brunch who were talking about online dating, and one had tried it and the other had not but was considering it. The woman who had done it said, "don't do eHarmony; I've had nothing but bad experiences on there." The other woman nodded her head and seemingly bought into it.
Who was right? Who was wrong? Neither. Both were speaking with a huge personal bias.
This will be the case 99% of the time you seek advice from others. This is why you should take the advice of one person with a grain of salt. Solicit more opinions, compile them, and then consider how much personal bias may be involved. If one person tells you a restaurant stinks, they may have had a unique experience or simply have different tastes than you. But if 100 people tell you it stinks, it probably stinks.
- Think Fast, But Pause Before Acting
My background is in improv comedy and I often speak on the idea of thinking quickly, so I'm a big fan of quick thinking. However, there is a difference between "thinking fast," and "acting fast."
Thinking fast means that when things happen, you can immediately generate a large list of ideas, solutions, and responses. Acting fast means jumping into something without thinking it through. These are two veeeeery different things.
Your ability to think quickly and creatively will help you immensely with making smarter decisions; the more options you have, the more likely you are to come up with a good one. However, along the way to coming up with a good idea you will come up with quite few bad ones. If you take action on every idea that seems good in the moment, you will very likely just dig yourself into a deeper hole.
Once you have come up with a great idea, take a little time to think it through. Many times we get so excited about our brilliant "Eureka!" ideas that we miss the fact that the idea has a huge flaw. Don't get so caught up in your passion that you jump in and take action on a fatally flawed idea. You don't need to spend a lot of time thinking about it, but definitely think it through.
|Written on 7/16/2010 by Avish Parashar. Avish is the Motivational Smart Ass. As a speaker and on his blog, Avish makes people laugh while sharing with them simple ideas to make their lives easier and more successful. To read more of his ridiculous rantings on self improvement, watch videos of him in action, and download the free "How to Think Quick" MP3, visit http://www.||Photo Credit: Latente!|