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The other day I got an email from TV 2, (a Danish TV broadcast company). I have been subscribing to their online service; TV 2 Play, where I can stream all channels live and have access to most of their content on demand. For the most part, I like to use my iPad to watch TV, and when the rest of the family needs to be included, we throw the TV stream on our big flat screen TV using the airplay functionality built into the app. This is a remarkably convenient way to watch TV and fits perfectly to our needs.

The people at TV 2 Play think so too. In the e-mail I got, they write how they are aware of the added value airplay gives customers. Nevertheless, the reason they did send me this email was to tell me that they were shutting down the airplay functionality ready for use in their app. The reason is described as follows: “All programs that are available on TV 2 Play are produced by studios and production companies. These right holders decide how their programs can be used. A large proportion of the right holders will unfortunately not allow their programs to be played using the AirPlay functionality.”

Personally, I think these production companies are making a huge mistake. They still live in the old world where everything is focused around their product and how they can prevent piracy. They seem to be so focused on these issues, which results in total neglection of true customer needs.
Today most of us customers live in a digital world where everything is available when we need it and where we need it. If a company can deliver such an experience, I will gladly pay for it. The evidence on the benefits of experience focused services is obviously clear today. TV-shows that are available online at a reasonable price are much less likely to be illegally downloaded.

It took the music industry took a while to understand this. However, with the help of Apple’s iTunes and later with streaming services such as Spotify, the music industry has learned that focusing on user needs is good business. A study recently made in Denmark shows that most people prefer paying for a legal streaming service rather than illegally downloading music it as long as it is easy to use. The key is user experience.

TV 2 Play knows about what their customers value, which is why they cared enough to send me an email apologizing their move on shutting down airplay. Luckily, for these production companies producing content, TV 2 Play is working towards a solution to accommodate for the loss of Airplay. Even so, in the long run these production companies can’t keep on relying on others to save their ass. They need to step up a gear and move into the digital age where their customers live and start focusing on delivering great experiences instead of worrying about piracy.

Image credit: Paul T

Top 20 under 20

IskraDinkova —  June 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

Youngpeople490

 

The teenage years can be a confusing time fraught with highs, lows, revelations and sometimes disappointment. Imagine how much more complex it might be if you had to address the needs of a growing business at the same time.

Some teenagers do take on the responsibility of starting and managing ventures and a handful of them become rich doing it. Born with an almost preternatural desire to create or build, these young prodigies allow their ambitions and visions to blossom into businesses.

Look at what these creative young people are doing with themselves:

1. Andrew Brackin (18, London, England) co-founded a marketplace for designers that grew to 100,000 signups. Andrew runs Tomorrow’s Web, an event for young technologists with hundreds of attendees and major sponsors. He will be working on Bunchy, a funding platform that allows organizations to raise money from their audience on their social platforms and websites.

2. Austin Russell (18, Newport Beach, Calif.) has a passion for developing innovative optoelectronic technologies for industry. His projects range from high-efficiency far-field wireless power transmission to low-cost early cancer detection systems. As a fellow, Austin will be focusing on 3D depth mapping and projection of interactive holograms through a compact laser-based module.

3. Daniel Zulla (19, Regensburg, Germany) is a software engineer who is about to introduce a secure computing architecture used for servers and desktop computers alike.

4. Darren Lim (19, Singapore) came to love scientific innovation while studying in China, and remains a consumer at heart who is obsessed with cutting-edge gadgets. He is currently working on a startup that focuses on how we interact with technology.

5. Delian Asparaouhov (19, Salt Lake City, Utah) wants to help improve health care. As a Thiel fellow, he will work on leveraging technology to help manage disease and improve patient outcomes.

6. Diwank Singh Tomer (19, Palo Alto, Calif.) stopped out of his college in India to work on an online platform for learning to code. Aside from his love of poetry, he is an exceptional hacker and engineer who was awarded the Mozilla WebFWD fellowship for his efforts to improve learning online. He has since moved to the Bay Area to further his efforts and is currently working on a collaborative learning platform.

7. Gary Le (19, East Brunswick, N.H.) envisions a safer, cleaner, and more trustable Internet. He is working on a real-time online identity verification system for various applications in e-commerce, online communities, and collaborative consumption businesses.

8. James Schuler (19, Armonk, N.Y.) started his first company when he was 12 and hasn’t stopped since. In high school he founded a health care company called Eligible and attended Y-Combinator as one of its youngest entrepreneurs. Recently, James left Eligible in order to focus on a bigger market: politics. As a Thiel Fellow, James will be focusing on implementing crowd funding in order to revolutionize the campaign finance market.

9. Kevin Wang (18, Vernon Hills, Ill.) began developing games and applications when he was 9. Since then, he has moved into entrepreneurship, applying his highly technical background to solve bigger problems. As a Thiel Fellow, he aims to simplify the world of law and open source software to end the wasteful litigation epidemic.

10. Laura Ball (19, Wauwatosa, Wisc.) is researching value in neural systems. She would like to determine how information becomes important, and how important information maintains dominance over other information in order to define our conscious mind-states and behavioral responses.

11. Maddy Maxey (18, San Diego, Calif.) began interning in the fashion industry when she was 16 for companies like Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Ricco, Peter Som, and Nylon Magazine. After founding a popular fashion blog while in France and then winning a scholarship from the CFDA & Teen Vogue for her work, she started a clothing company of her own. As a Thiel Fellow, Maddy will focus on optimizing the clothing patterns and the enterprise software that make our current garment industry inefficient. Her goal is to make domestic production profitable through better integrating software, not just hardware technologies, into our manufacturing system.

12. Mark Daniel (19, Nashville, Tenn.) co-founded social goal achievement site GoalHawk in 2011. Since then, he has been building StatusHawk, a workplace accountability tool that changes the way that companies handle status reports. As a Thiel Fellow, Mark will focus on taking the early stage company and building it into a profitable and sustainable business.

13. Nelson Zhang (19, Toronto, Ontario) has always loved making things. He has been tinkering with electronics since he was 10, and designed, manufactured, and sold several hardware products during high school and college. He is currently working on a desktop fabricator for electronics, aimed at lowering iteration time and costs for hardware companies. He hopes to make the design and production of physical things accessible to everyone.

14. Nick Liow (18, Vancouver, British Columbia) believes everything is a remix and information wants to be free. Now, he’s challenging copyright by building ways for creators to get paid for giving their work to the public domain.

15. Riley Drake (18, Baltimore, Md.) has been conducting scientific research since she was 15 years old. She has studied immunology at Johns Hopkins University and infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital. During her fellowship she intends to focus on applying physical principles to virology: utilizing biophysics to create broad-spectrum viral therapies.

16. Riley Ennis (19, McLean, Va.) founded Immudicon, an early-stage biotechnology company that has developed a novel cancer vaccine platform and telemedicine sweat-monitoring device in order to improve how we treat and diagnose diseases. The company was spun out of his research in high school at Georgetown University and the Sheikh Zayed Institute at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington DC. His ultimate goal is to exercise empathy within health care to revolutionize and personalize the future of treating patients.

17. Ritesh Agarwal (19, New Delhi, India) is one of the youngest entrepreneurs from India to raise angel investments. He runs OYO Inns, a chain of affordable, tech-enabled inns, and Oravel, a rising popular alternative to hotels in India. As a Thiel Fellow, Ritesh will leverage technology to bring affordable and standardized accommodations to emerging economies across the world, starting in India.

18. Thomas Sohmers (17, Hudson, Mass.) is a technology geek and hardware hacker who has been working at an MIT research lab since he was 13, developing everything from augmented reality eyewear to laser communication systems. Currently, Thomas is working on developing a new computing platform that utilizes very low-powered processors in a cluster to revolutionize the server, cloud, and research computing industries.

19. William LeGate (18, Marietta, Ga.) is an entrepreneur and computer scientist. He taught himself programming at age 14 from online Stanford lectures and has since created more than a dozen mobile apps which have been downloaded more than 5 million times and are now used by 1 in 16 U.S. teens. During his fellowship he plans to change the way that we discover apps for things around us.

20. Xinyi Chen (19, Beijing, China) is passionate about entrepreneurship and technology. She participated in the Tigerlabs accelerator last summer and developed prototypes for her project Helios, which attempts to make telepresence devices accessible to average families.

These are just a few examples of successful young people, if this doesn’t serve as motivation – then nothing will. Now drop the 5th slice of pizza, get off of the chair and away from the computer and invent something awesome!

And it’s no surprise that it did. Video is a more visual way to make people remember your message – no wonder YouTube is crawling with all sorts of material: from entertainers to beauty gurus to your average cute kitty video – everyone has something to say. But do you have to dig through all of that just to find what you are looking for, or is it possible to use those random videos as well?

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communityThis morning I had a small arguement with a moderator of a community that I have been using for the past year or so.

The community has never been an active community, more like a community with one or two entries each day, and after a month or so, the questions posted was just copies of earlier posts. So to be honest the value of the community was very limited even though the members of the community had so much knowledge that could have been shared and discussed. So why didn’t that happen?

The arguement

Let’s go back to the arguement.

A moderator stops a question in the forum because he doesn’t find it relevant to the group. Referring to the rules and regulations of the community, he might have a valid cause, and he enforces the rules by shutting down the debate even though people in the forum really would like to answer the question from the topic owner. At the same time the moderator had posted a question with the same lack of relevance, and I pointed that out to him and also telling him, that I thought it was a wrong strategy to police the forum constantly, because this incident was by far not the first where the moderator had enforced his rights as a moderator.

In my mind the group didn’t want to ask questions because it was hard to say where the line between allowed and not allowed questions were. Many questions started out by pointing out, that the moderator was allowed to delete the question if it didn’t fit in. Do you really want to invest time in asking questions if the only thing you could look forward to was a knock in your head from the über detail-oriented moderator.

Calling the group a community is actually a mistake, because a community is defined by the life within the community. A community can not be controlled, it can be guided. So when the police moderator is crashing heads in on topic creators, he is actually trying to control. He is trying to make the community going in one direction only and enforcing that direction by using power. Using power in a community should always be a last resort, guiding a community should instead focus on three elements:

Three elements of good community guidance

Create relevance: As owners or moderators, your main responsibility is to make sure the community is relevant for your users. This might have been the police moderator’s main problem. In his mind the relevance was described in the rules and regulations, and as the community grew, he never thought of the evolution of the community, that the needs and relevance of the community could evolve beyond the rules.

Another important aspect of the relevance-element is, that three topics with ok relevance is better than zero topics. A community evolves based on interactions, and the needs of the community evolves based on the interaction as well. So in that case the police moderator could actually make sure the community wouldn’t evolve by closing every topic, that might create evolution. But then you are not running a community, you are running a police state.

Reward your users, early and often: Many communities are packed with small game elements. Leaderboards, points or stars. You get rewarded for being active, and this is exactly what you want; an active community. The police state on the contrary is punishing active users by pointing out that they are not on topic. And very soon the “community” runs out of questions that are within the boundaries set by the moderators, and then we experience nothing but silence. No evolution, nothing! The police state could easily have gathered up all the frequently asked questions, put them into a sticky and then have loosened the tight boundaries of the group. They didn’t and won’t do it, so they are heading only one way!

Always be positive: I categorize online community users into four different groups: The bully, the troll, the freak and the striver.

Four user types in online communities

The striver is always there with A grade content. He wants stars or leaderboard points and he is often very keen on making the community a better place.

The freak is also a great content provider, but is nearly always off topic, so he needs moderation. In a good community the strivers takes care of the freaks and make the freaks a great asset to the site. The freak is often where the evolution in the community comes from. One of the greatest mistakes a moderator can do is to enforce power on the freak and closing his mouth. This stops both the goodwill and the evolution of the community, since the freak often is a treasured member in some parts of the community.

We all know the troll. He never makes relevant comments and creates topics only to piss people off. These people can and should be moderated heavily. In a good community the community itself can take care of trolls, and often trolls will just make a laughing stock out of himself.

The last user type is very hard to work with. The bully is active but always with one thing in mind. To be right. He is commenting peoples errors, he makes sure noboby makes mistakes, and he can start yelling and screaming although many bullies are too subtle to go that way. Instead they make small subtle insults or hijack threads of people for whom they hold a grudge. Bullies can often be the worst enemy for a community, because they don’t see that THEY are the greatest threat to a working community.

Goodbye community

With that in mind I would go so far to say, that the moderator above is/was a bully. And having a bully moderator is just not the way to go. To point out my arguments, this is what the moderator wrote to me after I pointed out my points of view

“There are lots of other groups who have a more liberal politic to what you can post and ask. We recommend XX, if you want to post a question, we do not allow in this group

It sums up everything. He enforce the rules, he don’t want the group to evolve, he wants to be in control, not letting go of his police stick. So the group will never evolve into a community.

So he was a bully moderator. And to be honest, I was a troll. Because the moderators annoyed me, the only comments I made where sarcastic remarks about how the moderators behaved. So I didn’t actually provide value either. All in all, I took the right choice and left the group rest assured that the group would never evolve into a community that provided value to me or the other long term members. Then the moderator would be happy for next couple of years and the rest of the group can at best turn out to be indifferent towards the so called community.

like

Almost everyone is on social media. And every company should be present here as well, right? But what exactly is there to gain from being present on social media platforms, and how are you supposed to act as a brand? The quick answer is this. No one wants to hear about you. What we all want is something that has value for us.

Traditional Marketing

You probably know the drill. If you want to market yourself, be it a company or person applying for a job, the whole thing will evolve around you. You have to do everything to make you look good as possible. If you are a company, you’ll need to have a communication strategy where you closely monitor your consumers reaction and make sure to close any gap that should occur between theirs perception and how you as a company would like to be perceived. In order to monitor these reactions, you will do surveys, analyse sales numbers, make qualitative interviews and so forth. The problem is that it isn’t so easy to figure out what exactly is working at what isn’t. As the legendary Henry Ford once said, he knew half of every dollar he spent on advertising was wasted. He just didn’t know which half.

Dave Kerpen writes about this in his book: likeable social media, where he compares the traditional marketing method with how a mom and her baby communicate. I can relate to this as I am a dad to three beautiful girls. I remember how it was before my kids had a language. The communication evolved around more simple methods such as facial expression and sounds. I can see my self a couple of years ago holding my youngest daughter in my arms desperately trying to make her stop crying. I tried everything, from feeding her, carry her around singing or in other ways try to get her attention to something else. Finally, at some point she would stop. My goal was reached, but I wasn’t sure If her need had been taking cared of.

Social Media Marketing

Now let’s forward a couple of years forward to today’s realities. My oldest daughter is just about to turn 12 years old. She has not any difficulties with her verbal skills, and then she has this annoying ability to bring up things I thought we already had dealt with. This typically happens when I’ve tried to downplay the issues telling her that she was overreacting. This might have worked when she was younger, and I had this superior authority as a parent, but those days are gone. Nowadays she will haunt me, keep telling me how unfair I am and how I totally don’t understand her at all. Our issues are not solved until I realise that it doesn’t matter what I think about her behaviour and start taking the time to listen to her and try to understand her point of view. We might not agree, but that isn’t what is important. What matters is that she feels heard and understood. This is how social media works. Think of it the same way as being social in the real world.

So if before you push that send button on Facebook, think about what type of content you are sending. If it is a message about you and your brand, then think about all those disturbing spam-like messages that appear in your newsfeed every day. What value is your message giving your “likers” and their friends? Whats in it for them? You have to think and act as a consumer, and this requires you to listen first. How else can you have a conversation with someone unless you first know what they care about, what they dream about and how what they like about your company.

Because, it’s never about you, it is about them.

Image Credit: Mihai Tamasila

Privacy

We all know that the Internet and digital development has propelled us into a new era. The particular area of interest and much scrutiny over many years is the threat on privacy posed by Internet services such as search engines and social media. This threat is taken even further with development of facial recognition technologies in smart TVs and Google’s all-seeing eye in the Google Glass project. This leaves us with this dilemma: to sacrifice our personal information in exchange for free digital services.

The majority of revenue for search and social media companies are from advertising. We all know it is free to search on Google, Bing or Yahoo and to sign up on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. And this is great. Who can complain about getting free stuff! The catch is advertising. Obviously they must make their money somehow. And they do make billions ($36bn in the US in 2012 to be precise) by making your personal, disclosed information available to advertisers, as the premise for effective advertising is information. Google makes 95% of their revenue from advertising.

The ecology of personal information

Advertising is ingrained to the core of Internet services. It has found a prime seat in this new ecological system of commerce. The circle goes something like this:

  • You get a free service in exchange for personal information (e.g. Facebook)
  • The service provider (e.g. Facebook) offers advertisers a platform to reach a specific audience according the information you yourself have disclosed, in exchange for money
  • The advertiser gets an efficient channel to reach you directly with advertising they think is relevant to you, with the hope that you will buy their product

Everyone gets something and everyone’s happy. You get a free service, the provider gets cash, and the advertiser gets you.

We choose to give up privacy

A recent survey conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc. showev that while 70% of Millennials (18-34 year olds) said that “No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behaviour”, they were the most willing to exchange personal information for something in return.

You can go all 1984 and Big Brother about this, fearing the consequence of every letter you type into a box on the web. Or you can be totally blasé about what you disclose online. Which is worse? The latter is utterly careless, but the prior is equally paranoid. While some have said that privacy is dead, others claim that it is merely evolving.

Social media privacy has been discussed to infinity, and rightfully so. I will therefore not say so much about that except recommend that you watch this video to get some perspective.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OJFVpC_MNY]

Search engines are cheekier as when you put in a search query that information is stored with or without your knowledge. And when you visit a website with a Google Adwords box, the ad you see is tailored to you according to where you are, what websites you visit (with the help of cookies) and type of stuff you search for. If you’re extremely paranoid, the question to ponder is this: how will Google coerce me into joining their army when they take over the world?

The all-seeing eye

The next threat to privacy is face recognition and the ubiquity of Google Glass and Smart TVs. A lot of research is currently done on face recognition in smart TVs and this function is already available in smart TVs rolled out by Samsung. The idea is great. Rather than typing in your login information the TV recognises your face and logs you into your respective account.
But imagine the potential for the advertising industry here. From having one or a few national networks to having segmented cable TV, advertisers have since the 1980s-1990s been able to target more specific TV audiences for a lesser price. Imagine if that segmentation could now be made not only from the channel, program or time of day, but from who is sitting in the living room (or wherever your TV is). There goes that privacy.

If a child sits in front of the TV, the TV will notice and show only children friendly ads and perhaps toy ads. If a bunch of guys are in the room what would they care about seeing L’Oreal’s “Because you’re worth it”? If the whole family is there an idyllic family holiday may be the perfect ad to show. If you are logged in to an account on your TV, it can also store what programs you like watching and when you typically watching TV.

Facedeals is another technology that takes face recognition to local businesses. You register your face with an account, and as you enter a shop or club a camera in the shop recognises your face and instantly texts an offer to your smartphone from this shop. The idea is very similar to location services already existing on smartphones but it has potential for being a pretty scary surveillance tool. You’re never hidden.

I guess I don’t need to say much more about Google Glass. You will carry the camera on yourself. Everything you see could be recorded and logged. The people you hang out with, the places you go to, the stuff that you buy. This is, of course, a worst-case scenario. I am very fascinated by the product, and hate being dubious about everything. But like in the video above, perspective and knowing what you do is necessary.

Obsolete or evolving?

The question that remains is whether privacy is an obsolete concept or if it is merely changing. Personally, some stuff I don’t mind posting on Facebook and other stuff I do mind. And when I search on Google, the worst thing that can happen is that I see more relevant ads as a consequence. Perhaps the boundary for what is private has merely shifted. However, when creating Facebook Mark Zuckerberg envisioned a world where privacy was redundant. Is it right to call this evolution or is devolving privacy the more correct phrase with boundaries shifting further and further towards zero?

How far are you willing to go in making personal information available in exchange for free digital services, coupons, vouchers or whatever? And do you think privacy is a dying race? Please share with us below.

Edgerank 102

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After nearly 6 weeks of school/career busy-ness induced silence, we are happy to announce that the glue is not dry and is back in the bottle. With new strength and inspiration we are bigger and bad-er than ever, in all out strength and might we have resurrected similar to a phoenix from its ashes and with a hunger for writing – we have come back.

Speaking of “coming back”, the association triggered by that word combination in my brain is towards startups and/or more established companies that had done something wrong, screwed up really badly and then revived themselves by one way or the other.

There are a few success stories that every little boy and girl should know if they want to grow up into a big and strong entrepreneur, and what better way to learn than from other people’s failure or if not to learn – then just for laughs. In either case, whatever you chose as a perspective, the following 5 come-backs are definitely worth the mention, if anything – it’s always interesting to see how the mighty nowadays had once fallen.

Here are some tales of resurrection one can easily dub “Best come back stories of all time”:

#5 Tyco International Ltd.

After becoming one of the world’s largest industrial conglomerates through acquisitions, Tyco found itself in an accounting scandal in the summer of 2002 and facing an $11 billion debt payment it couldn’t cover. Ed Breen was brought in to replace disgraced chairman and CEO Dennis Kozlowski and promptly replaced the board of directors and most of the company’s senior management team. He also shed non-core assets and imposed a new era of fiscal prudence, quickly reversing the company’s financial fortunes.

Lessons: Focus on your winners, get rid of your losers, and shun unnecessary spending. Breen closed unproductive business units at Tyco and rid the company of financial excesses that had become commonplace under Kozlowski, whose purchase of a $6,000 shower curtain with company funds may go down as one of the lasting symbols of corporate excess.

#4 International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)

Big Blue has been a bulwark of the information age for half a century, but it had become a plodding, inward-looking behemoth by 1993 when it posted an $8 billion loss — a U.S. company record at the time. Louis V. Gerstner Jr. took over as chairman and CEO and quickly led IBM back from the brink of bankruptcy. While many thought the company could be saved only by breaking it apart, Gerstner insisted on holding it together and refocusing it on delivering value to customers by becoming not just a hardware vendor, but also a provider of complete IT solutions.

Lessons: A company’s culture is critical to its success. Arriving at IBM, Gerstner found a culture focused on internal rules and conflicts. Business units hid things from each other and were more likely to fight over intra-company billings than collaborate on satisfying customers. To drive change, Gerstner not only declared a new culture, but created financial incentives for managers to embrace it.

#3 Ford Motor Co.

In December 2008, you could buy a share of Ford for less than a buck. Many people assumed the company would end up in bankruptcy court with General Motors and Chrysler. But Ford had some things those others didn’t: CEO Alan Mulally, whom William Ford Jr. brought in from Boeing to replace him, and close to $23.5 billion in cash the company had just raised by audaciously mortgaging its factories and other assets. With more financial flexibility than its domestic competitors and Mulally’s manufacturing and fiscal discipline, Ford began creating new vehicles that rivaled their Japanese counterparts in quality and fuel efficiency. It has since seen its market share grow and its stock recover.

Lessons: Be courageous enough to bring in outside help if you’re not getting the job done on your own. Also, eliminate waste. Under Mulally, Ford pared its structural costs by more than $10 billion and stopped building completely different cars for different worldwide markets, turning instead to global cars that can be tweaked for individual markets.

#2 McDonald’s Corp.

McDonald’s has been an American icon for so long that it’s easy to forget the company lost its mojo in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In January 2003, McDonald’s reported its first quarterly loss since going public in 1965. As management put expansion plans ahead of operating discipline, customers grew critical of its food and the cleanliness of its restaurants. In came new CEO Jim Cantalupo, who overhauled products, operations and marketing. The company also spiffed up its restaurants, rededicated itself to serving better food, and expanded into healthier entrees such as salads. Today, McDonald’s remains king of the fast-food empire.

Lessons: Focus on the fundamentals. When Cantalupo came aboard, he vowed that McDonald’s would once again deliver customers hot food and maintain clean restrooms. It was a simple message, but one that focused restaurant operators and resonated with customers. He also backed off his predecessor’s expansion into other restaurant concepts, allowing the company to devote fuller attention to its core business.

#1 Apple Inc.

Apple is a Wall Street darling these days but was a dog in the mid-1990s, losing market share and hemorrhaging cash. Then co-founder Steve Jobs, who’d departed in 1984 after a dispute with his board, came back. Jobs shut down projects that were draining cash and transformed Apple from a computer maker into a consumer electronics company with products that looked and worked better than the competition’s.

Lessons: Leadership matters. Apple always had plenty of brainpower but wasn’t always focused. In Jobs, the company found a leader with the vision to anticipate what customers would want and the charisma to convince employees to deliver them — all while meeting his famously demanding standards.

Bottom line is: if you can’t afford to make your own mistakes (for whatever reason) learn from the shortcomings of others, don’t reinvent the wheel and move forward. But if you find yourself in a particularly masochistic mood then by all means – move fast and break your own stuff.

More on the topic of “getting your shit together”: let’s review some LinkedIn alternatives and pray that at least one of them is useful.

Branch out

BranchOut

If BranchOut sounds familiar, it is probably because you encountered it on Facebook. In fact, it is currently the most popular professional networking app on the Facebook platform. Founded in 2010 by Rick Marini, BranchOut is widely used for job hunting, recruiting, and general networking.
What makes this social app stand out is the fact that it leverages the user’s existing Facebook network to help them make professional connections.
BranchOut recently “branched out” from Facebook by re-launching itself as a standalone application with hopes of competing with LinkedIn. That’s going to be tough, but with an active community of more than 30 million users, it is definitely a nice alternative.

Twylah

Twylah

BranchOut leverages Facebook, Twylah harnesses the power of Twitter to conduct its networking business. Twylah allows you to create Twitter brand pages that can extend your presence beyond the popular microblogging site. This tool helps you focus your message by automatically organizing your tweets by trending topics, which gives the world an at-a-glance view of what you’re all about.
Additionally, Twylah keeps SEO in mind by optimizing your page to enhance visibility and generate traffic from the search engines.
One thing to like about Twylah is the hosting component. By giving you the ability to run a page on your own domain, it is essentially giving you another option for a website, while also helping brand your Twitter content.

Google+

google+

When Google+ launched in the summer of 2011, the resemblance in looks and functionality instantly caused it to be compared to the mighty Facebook. As it matured, however, it may appear that the site was groomed to be a networking tool the likes of LinkedIn, rather than a Facebook clone. Google+ is primarily being used to make professional connections. Rarely will you see status updates talking about parties, the daily lunch menu, or grocery shopping expeditions.
Google+ has a number of features that complement social networking. Among them is Circles, which allows you to target specific communications for customers, prospects, partners, and other groups you define.

VisualCV

VisualCV

Some professionals are using LinkedIn as a more detailed and advanced version of their resume. VisualCV can be used in similar fashion. Hence the name, VisualCV uses visual elements such as images and video to put together what becomes an engaging digital resume. You can create a custom URL for your resume, share it publicly or privately, and even send it directly to potential employers.
VisualCV is completely free to use, which is somewhat surprising considering all the advanced features it offers. This one is highly recommended for creating resumes or portfolios that stand out from the crowd.

Zerply

Zerply

Zerply is another LinkedIn alternative that is ideal for creating an online resume. This service lets you send potential employers to an attractive page complete with info on your social connections, in addition to your experience, skills, and traditional resume data. You can also invite others to join you on the network, and set up your own domain.
Similar to LinkedIn, Zerply lets you make connections with influencers and stay on top of the buzz in your specific niche.
While Zerply is free to use, it also has a premium version with more features you can upgrade to. Further, keep in mind that there is a cost for using a custom domain.

Perhaps, after this short burs, someone, somewhere will get lucky and land that dream job, but before that: get off your fat ass and do something with yourself!

The 99% revolution

IskraDinkova —  March 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

For whatever reason the economy is in the shitter and you, like me, are dangerously unemployed and are struggling to find some sort of cash flow towards your wallet instead of in the opposite direction, you’re seeking for opportunities under every stone.

In my lack of success in that endeavor so far, I have noticed the ease with which your potential employer can do a background check on you just by typing your name in Google or any search engine. So it is in your favor that what they (future employers) find would act to your benefit… and not your distorted face while passed out on the floor hugging a dog and a few bottles of Jack Daniel’s.

All things considered, you are already on the web, so why not make the most of it? Make yourself presentable and perhaps people will perceive you as a young professional who has his “shit together” or they will see right through the act and pass you by. Either way, what do you have to lose, you’re dignity is definitely down the toilet after that photo with the dog…

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