U.S. Department of Energy Asks, Is Cloud Computing Fast Enough for Science?

first_imgWith cloud computing gaining acceptance in the business world, the U.S. Department of Energy wants to know if cloud computing can also meet the needs of the scientific computing. The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has launched Magellan, a cloud computing testbed to explore this question, with facilities that will test the effectiveness of cloud computing for scientific projects.Magellan is built to meet the special requirements of scientific computing using technology and tool sets unavailable in commercial clouds, including high-bin processors, high-bandwidth parallel file systems, high-capacity data archives, and pre-installed scientific applications and libraries.But will cloud computing be fast enough?According to a report in Federal Computing Week, preliminary results suggest that commercially available clouds operating Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications such as weather calculations suffer in performance. “For the more traditional MPI applications there were significant slowdowns, over a factor of 10,” said Kathy Yelick, NERSC division director.Performance isn’t the only factor the Magellan cloud is testing. It’s also looking at cloud computing’s efficiency and its suitability for various research projects. Magellan is a two-year $32 million project involving about 3000 NERSC scientists. The goal, in part, is to help inform the DOE, scientists, and the tech industry what is needed in terms of configuration and management of scientific cloud computing resources. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Tags:#Case Studies#cloud audrey watters A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

New Daytum iPhone App Makes Beautiful Charts & Graphs About Your Life

first_imgmarshall kirkpatrick A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts If you’ve ever seen New York data visualization specialist Nicholas Felton’s Annual Reports on sites like LifeHacker or here on ReadWriteWeb, you probably remember the giggly feeling many of us feel when imagining that the beautiful charts and graphs he publishes were about the minutia of our own lives. Thanks to the New Years Eve release of a new iPhone app from Felton’s company Daytum, those visualizations can illustrate your days, weeks, months and years.In 2008, Felton’s Annual Report stated that he took 548 subway trips, 107 taxis, 12 flights, 19 buses, two ferries and 64 visits to the gym that year. His average rate of movement through the year was just under 5 miles per hour and he’s got some beautiful graphs to illustrate that. The new Daytum iPhone app makes it easy for you to track and graph those or any other kinds of activities day by day through your own life. It’s a very well designed app, too. Josh Rubin wrote up the new app this morning on the blog Cool Hunting. “The app allows you to work offline–adding, editing and deleting entries–as well as keep track of favorite items for quick reference,” Rubin writes. “… switching between accounts, graphing data or providing convenient access for common functions help the app retain its purpose of everyday use. Fully integrated with Daytum’s site, the app can be used in tandem or stand-alone and for existing users it will import all of the past data you’ve entered at daytum.com.”Some users have reported bugs with the app, but I haven’t seen any yet in my testing. The user experience is remarkably well designed. On every screen I’ve encountered so far, whatever I hope the app does – it does, smoothly.It’s a beautiful app and I hope I can remember to enter things into it consistently. So far I’m keeping track of push-ups and of articles here on ReadWriteWeb that I’ve edited. It‘s really easy to add any kind of action you want to track, though.As with all these kinds of quantified self apps, the absence of a subcutaneous monitoring implant (as good as that is in the free will category) significantly raises the barrier to regular user input. It’s easy to chalk up interest in these kinds of apps as a New Year’s fluke, fitness tracker RunKeeper for example dropped the price of its iPhone app to free on New Years Eve and today reported that it’s seen an incredible 1 million downloads in 4 days!We’re seeing an increase in data-as-platform software and services all year long, though. These kinds of apps, services that allow us to capture data about what used to be called the off-line world in order to visualize patterns and learn of changes, are likely to be very big into 2011 and beyond. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Product Reviews#web marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts Tags:#Product Reviews#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market,If you’ve ever seen New York data visualization specialist Nicholas Felton’s Annual Reports on sites like LifeHacker or here on ReadWriteWeb, you probably remember the giggly feeling many of us feel when imagining that the beautiful charts and graphs he publishes were about the minutia of our own lives. Thanks to the New Years Eve release of a new iPhone app from Felton’s company Daytum, those visualizations can illustrate your days, weeks, months and years.In 2008, Felton’s Annual Report stated that he took 548 subway trips, 107 taxis, 12 flights, 19 buses, two ferries and 64 visits to the gym that year. His average rate of movement through the year was just under 5 miles per hour and he’s got some beautiful graphs to illustrate that. The new Daytum iPhone app makes it easy for you to track and graph those or any other kinds of activities day by day through your own life. It’s a very well designed app, too. Josh Rubin wrote up the new app this morning on the blog Cool Hunting. “The app allows you to work offline–adding, editing and deleting entries–as well as keep track of favorite items for quick reference,” Rubin writes. “… switching between accounts, graphing data or providing convenient access for common functions help the app retain its purpose of everyday use. Fully integrated with Daytum’s site, the app can be used in tandem or stand-alone and for existing users it will import all of the past data you’ve entered at daytum.com.”Some users have reported bugs with the app, but I haven’t seen any yet in my testing. The user experience is remarkably well designed. On every screen I’ve encountered so far, whatever I hope the app does – it does, smoothly.It’s a beautiful app and I hope I can remember to enter things into it consistently. So far I’m keeping track of push-ups and of articles here on ReadWriteWeb that I’ve edited. It‘s really easy to add any kind of action you want to track, though.As with all these kinds of quantified self apps, the absence of a subcutaneous monitoring implant (as good as that is in the free will category) significantly raises the barrier to regular user input. It’s easy to chalk up interest in these kinds of apps as a New Year’s fluke, fitness tracker RunKeeper for example dropped the price of its iPhone app to free on New Years Eve and today reported that it’s seen an incredible 1 million downloads in 4 days!We’re seeing an increase in data-as-platform software and services all year long, though. These kinds of apps, services that allow us to capture data about what used to be called the off-line world in order to visualize patterns and learn of changes, are likely to be very big into 2011 and beyond. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Foursquare to Add Restaurant, Other Reviews, From Questionable Source [Updated]

first_imgLocation based social network Foursquare is reportedly partnering with bulk-content company Examiner.com to provide reviews of restaurants and other venues whenever a user checks-in at a location. On one hand the move will add helpful content to otherwise barren place pages when users haven’t yet added their own tips to those places, and it will provide lengthier content even when user tips are available. On the other hand, the inclusion of reviews instead of news and other content seems like a big lost opportunity. Examiner content is also widely derided as low-quality. Some users will undoubtedly feel that Foursquare has chosen a content partner who paid over place annotation solutions that add more value for the users.David Kaplan at PaidContent reported on the partnership this morning but very few details are available and Foursquare has yet to reply to our request for comment. Update: Foursquare replied to say that this partnership is less unique than we expected, it’s “no different” the company says from its other brand partnerships (discussed below). It appears that not everyone will see the Examiner’s reviews, though that’s made unclear by the company’s statement that “Local tips will also be available to non-friends who check-in nearby.”We’ve long written about location as a platform for innovation here at ReadWriteWeb and we’re really excited about it. Given the incredible amount of rich information that could be tied to Foursquare places, it is a disappointment that a major new feature on the site sounds like it will look more like a commercial than a living encyclopedia. The way that most brands have been using Foursquare is to upload tips about places around the country, then encourage users to Friend their account. Once you do that, if you check in near a place that’s been annotated by a brand you’re following, you’ll get a push notification with that brand’s tip. The History Channel, for example, is a great account to follow – it pushes really interesting and educational tips about places around the country. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Location#mobile#web The untapped potential on a platform that ties a person’s declared location to the web and to their friends is incredible. Last week, for example, I checked-in on Foursquare at a park down the street from my house. I go there often and decided to Google the name of the park. On the second page of search results, I found a PDF map of all the trees in the park, listing what kind of tree they are and offering more information in a walking tour! I added a tip to the venue to do that same Google search, but otherwise that great place-based content never would have been surfaced in Foursquare. Instead we’ll have to settle for some content-farm’s review of the dive bar across the street. Presumably because the content farm paid Foursquare for the privilege. (Update: The company emailed to say they do not charge partners for this. Interesting to know.) Thanks, Foursquare.The company has said in the past that it is interested in adding cultural and informational layers to the check-in experience, but that it’s limited in its ability to do so in the near-term by constrained resources. Branded location annotation has gone on via Foursquare for at least a year, though, and the company has raised tens of millions of dollars. A simpler explanation is that the company’s leadership doesn’t really care. That much is disappointing, but if the Examiner content now being added is as bad as some critics say and is as tightly integrated into the Foursquare experience as it sounds, this move could be more than just another missed opportunity – it could be downright annoying. If you’re not familiar with the Examiner, the Wikipedia entry about the company is illuminating, especially the criticism part. Basically, the company pays contributors bottom of the barrel rates to write content that’s widely criticized. Update: On the subject of the Examiner, Foursquare emailed to offer us the following obligatory defense of their new brand partner. “Foursquare offers brands the ability to create pages of curated tips to engage with our more than 5.5 million users. When we receive a request for such a partnership, we consider the brand’s relevance and willingness to provide community members with valuable insights about various locations. We’re excited that Examiner.com’s contributors – who are in-tune with their cities – are able to take advantage of foursquare’s platform to enhance the experiences of our users.” Also: “The only time a non-follower might see an Examiner tip is in the post check-in screen if they check into a venue where no friends have left tips (and there’s an Examiner tip at that venue that has been voted up).”For what it’s worth, each time Foursquare frustrates me or Gowalla disappoints me, I get more hopeful about the fast-approaching public launch of another little geo startup called Geoloqi. Somebody’s got to nail this location based web stuff. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology marshall kirkpatrick Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Amazon Buys European Movie Streaming & Rental Company Lovefilm

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Amazon#NYT#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… audrey watters Amazon announced today that it has acquired Lovefilm, one of the leading European movie rental services. Amazon already owned a minority share of the company, and will now acquire the remaining shares in the company. The terms of the sale were not disclosed, but varying reports estimate its value to be between $200 million and approximately $270 million. Akin to Netflix state-side, Lovefilm offers subscription services with both rental-by-mail and streaming access to films and TV shows on to PCs, Internet TVs and Playstation 3. The company operates in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark and has 1.6 million members.“The deal is a winner for the members who love Lovefilm because of its value, choice, convenience and innovation in home entertainment,” says Lovefilm’s CEO Simon Calver. “With Amazon’s unequivocal support we can significantly enhance our members’ experience across Europe.” Amazon already offers its own streaming rental service in the U.S., although it hasn’t had as much attention as Amazon’s e-commerce and e-books sectors. But with the increasing demand for video-on-demand, and with rumors of a Netflix expansion into global markets, the acquisition seems well timed. Obviously, this will boost Amazon’s position in Europe, but as Amazon already has a strong interest in and connections to the entertainment industry – it is the owner of the movie database IMDb, for example – Amazon’s plans for building out a rental service may be much larger.last_img read more

Use Foursquare to Check in at the George W. Bush Library

first_imgcurt hopkins Related Posts Well, it’s happened. The National Archives and Records Administration has up and joined Foursquare. Now, if you want to admit, I mean brag, that you’ve set foot in the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, you can.As the name indicates, NARA oversees the American national archives as well as the Presidential Library system, where former presidents deposit many of the papers associated with their terms in office. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Government#Location#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… You can go the other direction too, of course, learning about the National Archive and the Presidential Libraries on Foursquare sub-sites. The rationale? To use social media to further the organization’s mission of providing information to the American public, make people aware of it as a resource and, of course, to get the public to visit its locations.“By joining Foursquare, the National Archives invites users to learn more about this nation’s history via social media. Each tip highlights an interesting place or event related to the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries & Museums.”Alas and alack, unlike “Crunked” and “Slut,” you don’t seem to get a special NARA badge for your archival peregrinations. Those unfamiliar with NARA might be surprised to learn how invested in social media it is. Most of the subsidiary archives restrict themselves to Facebook, but the main archive uses Twitter, Flickr and even has a wiki. Most of the libraries use Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. The “Daily Document” is even available as either an iPhone or Android app. Other sources: ResourceBlog Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Google Confirms Gmail Troubles As Some Users Report Their Email History Wiped

first_imgRelated Posts audrey watters As much as I long to achieve “inbox zero,” waking up to find my email wiped clean actually sounds pretty nightmarish. But that’s what happened to many Gmail users this morning, who logged into their accounts to find they’ve been wiped clean. No email in. No history of what’s been sent. No folders. Nothing. Just a standard “Welcome to Gmail” announcement as though they were using the service for the very first time.Users took to the Google forums and to Twitter to express their concerns. Google has responded there, saying it’s aware of the problem and is working on a solution. We’ve contacted Google for more details and will update the story as we know more.UPDATED: According to a Google spokesperson, “Today a very small number users are having difficulty accessing their Gmail accounts, and in some cases once they’re in, trouble viewing emails. This is affecting less than .08% of our Gmail user base, and we’ve already fixed the problem for some individuals. Our engineers are working as quickly as possible and we hope to have everything back to normal soon. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience to our customers.”Google has also updated its App Status Dashboard to acknowledge the problems, noting that only .08% of Gmail users are impacted by the problems. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Despite that small number, losing all your emails – over six years of email history according to one person who contacted me – can be devastating. Hopefully Google can restore these messages. And if nothing else, today’s problems are a good reminder to back up your content. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#Google#web last_img read more

Break It or Lose It

first_imgRainscreen clips and rails are thermally conductiveRainscreens are popular for commercial façades due to their ability to control air and moisture movement. Because the cladding is held off the wall, these systems require a secondary structural system of rails, Z-girts, and/or clips to support the cladding. Typically made of highly conductive metals, these members penetrate through the insulation, causing significant thermal bridges. While insulation between steel studs has long been acknowledged to cause thermal bridging, these rainscreen supports have a similar impact thermally that was overlooked until recently.In thermal images of rainscreen façades, a decrease in thermal performance that ranged from 20% to 60% less than the design intended performance was observed, with the majority around a 45% to 55% decrease. The systems selected for study all had between 2 in. and 3 in. of insulation with various support systems such as vertical and horizontal Z-girts, as well as different clip systems.In both vertical and horizontal orientations, Z-girts demonstrated roughly a 45% to 55% reduction in performance depending on the insulation thickness. Because of the intermittent nature of the rainscreen clips, they performed better both in thermal images and in the computer modeling than the continuous Z-girts. The clip support system had half of the heat flow of the Z-girts, or 25% of the design intent. While the intermittent nature of the support system certainly improved the performance, the team investigated methods to further improve the performance of rainscreen support systems.A number of thermally broken Z-girt and rainscreen support systems currently exist on the market. As part of the research project, the team explored four thermally broken options. All four of the tested systems performed well. In general, the R-value of the assemblies was only reduced by 10% to 15% due to thermal bridging through their support systems. RELATED ARTICLES Over the past 20 years, the building industry has experienced renewed interest in reducing the energy demand of buildings. At the building code level, groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have been steadily raising the bar on performance criteria for building envelopes and systems. Designers have been challenged to find and implement technologies and solutions that can practically and economically affect the energy demands of our buildings.Less progress has been made, however, in managing conductive losses through improved building insulation performance. Increased thickness of insulation materials provides diminishing returns if thermal bridging is not considered, as seen in the illustration at the top of this article.The intent of this research is to quantify and understand how built façades perform, and also to investigate proposed improvements to common problem details. Results show that it is possible to reduce thermal bridging by 50% or greater by employing careful detailing and products that are readily available. Andrea Love is the director of building science at Payette, a Boston-based architectural firm, where she leads the firm’s sustainability and research efforts. This article, which was originally published in the fall issue of BuildingEnergy, was peer-reviewed by Hannah Durschlag. What is Thermal Bridging?The Thermal Bridge to NowherePeter Yost: Thermal BridgingMartin Holladay: Thermal BridgingUnderstanding R-ValueAll About RainscreensVideo: Vented Rainscreen Siding Assembliescenter_img A research project looks at the impact of thermal bridgingThe research project was comprised of a multi-step approach, starting with field observations of existing assemblies, followed by computer simulations of existing details and proposed thermal improvements. Hand calculations of R-values based on the resistance of each layer of the envelope were derived from shop drawings, construction documents, and/or specification information as appropriate. Because these simplified, single-dimension calculations do not account for any thermal bridging, they were used as the “baseline R-value” as the best-case scenario.A thermal imaging camera was used to determine the actual R-value of existing façades. Teams were deployed to 15 buildings to assess the general envelope thermal performance and scan for areas that appeared to perform differently. Using the methodology published by Madding (2008), the exterior air temperature, interior air temperature, and the radiant temperature were gathered using infrared imaging and temperature data loggers in order to calculate the as-built R-value of the assembly.Because physically altering the built conditions was not possible, computer simulations were used to test possible improvements to various construction details. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s THERM 7.3 program was employed to determine R-values of complete assemblies, including thermal bridges, based upon its ease of use and ability to integrate into the design process.For each detail, models were prepared of the constructed designs, and were then calibrated by comparing them to the actual performance measured in the field with the thermal imaging camera. For discontinuous thermal bridges, such as bolts or clips, two methods were used to account for their three-dimensional impact: the parallel path method and the isothermal planes method. The parallel path method takes a weighted average of two simulations, one with the discontinuous bridging element and one without it. The isothermal planes method runs one simulation using a weighted conductivity of the bridging material and insulation for the discontinuous thermal element. Because the parallel path tends to overestimate the impact of the thermal bridging, and the isothermal planes tends to underestimate the impact, both methods were used to understand the range of impact the thermal bridge might have.Working from both the graphical and quantitative output from THERM, models were strategically probed to identify the significant heat transfer elements within a given detail, and ultimately predict the performance improvements that might result from changes in detailing. Try to eliminate continuous conductive elements that penetrate the insulationThe continuity of a thermal barrier across the entire building envelope is fundamental to good thermal performance. It reduces energy consumption, increases thermal comfort, and helps to prevent condensation. While some thermal bridges may be eliminated, the real goal of the research suggests that thermal bridges can be effectively managed, and that doing so will have a meaningful impact on the performance of buildings.The first priority should be to eliminate continuous conductive elements, such as Z-girts or masonry shelf angles that completely penetrate the insulation layer. These systems are easily interrupted by pulling them outboard of the thermal barrier and using discontinuous supports to make required connections back to structure.Second, try to utilize available thermally broken products or strategies to disconnect the heat flow through the thermal barrier. Thermally broken rainscreen support systems, brick ties, and concrete slab connections are readily available on the market. It is essential, however, to ensure that the thermal break occurs within the insulation boundary in the application of these products. The research found some products that are easily foiled by having breaks in undesirable locations relative to the natural placement of insulation.Finally, when the thermal bridge is a necessity, such as when structure must penetrate uninterrupted through the insulation, look for materials with the lowest possible thermal conductivity. For example, stainless steel has one-third the conductivity of carbon steel, and fiberglass’s conductivity is significantly lower than that of stainless steel.While this study is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of all thermal bridges, it does identify the types of conditions that occur typically, and helps quantify their localized impact. More than anything, it is anticipated that this research will help to develop an intuitive understanding of the situations that lead to the thermal bridging regardless of the specific project conditions, and provide the tools for easily addressing them. Case study on rainscreensThe investigation fell into two categories: façade systems and assembly transitions. The most thermally problematic transition conditions were found at window installations, foundation-to-wall transitions, changes in wall systems, soffits, roof-to-wall transitions, parapets, roof penetrations, louver openings, existing buildings with embedded beams, and slabs and seismic and movement joints.Five basic façade systems were identified that would be generally applicable to modern commercial and institutional work and appeared to reflect different challenges. These were: rainscreens, masonry veneer walls, insulated metal panels, curtain walls, and the renovation of existing masonry façades. Rainscreens are discussed in further detail below.last_img read more

For Startups, Timing Trends Really Does Matter – Except When It Doesn’t

first_imgHow Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them scott gerber Related Posts Now is the best time in history to start your own business. But depending on what kind of company you’re building, you have to figure out if your idea is poised to capture a trend—or doomed to miss one and face a much tougher road to success.To learn about the impact of properly timing a trend—or of missing one—we asked 8 successful young entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for their experiences. And we also got their advice on how to perfectly time your business: 1. Missed Opportunities Open New DoorsIt was 2011 when we started building a platform for social media. By then, Buddy Media had already raised over $90 million, Wildfire announced that they had over 10,000 customers, and companies like Vitrue and Involver were the industry titans. Some potential investors told us we were late to the party. However, in hindsight, and especially in light of all of the recent acquisitions of the aforementioned, I believe we had a core advantage to really plug into the “second wave” of social, which has the potential to be even more disruptive than the first. We were able to speak to people who were already using a social media platform and figure out what needs still weren’t being met. By staying small and nimble, we were able to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of social media. —Abby Ross, Blueye Creative 2. Revisit Past FailuresThere’s no lack of ideas that were “before their time.” Many business models that failed in the early 2000s are now incredibly successful because now, the timing is right, the technology is here, and it’s easier than ever before to achieve scale. As an example, my company SitePoint tried selling ebooks back in 2000 and no one bought into it. It was a complete and utter disaster and forced us to print and ship physical books—which sold like hotcakes. The reason is simple, people were still getting used to the idea of shopping online, and paying for digital goods was still a foreign concept to many. Fast forward a few years, with the iTunes revolution, Kindle and iPad, and all of a sudden, ebook sales are trending sharply upward every year. —Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa and 99designs 3. Some Ideas Transcend Timing & TrendsTiming is everything—if your idea is reliant on time. If you want to create a flash valuation or raise a certain amount of money quickly, then it’s of utmost importance. And it’s important for tech in general. But I believe that there are other ideas—rooted in timeless truths—that are not restricted to a certain epoch or Zeitgeist. If your idea is rooted in one of these things, then timing is far less important. If you’re a social entrepreneur fighting for human dignity in a particular area, for example, then it’s less critical whether you start today or tomorrow. My personal view is that I want to be involved with an organization that I believe will be important a thousand years from now. If I find an idea worthy of that standard, then I know it’s rooted in something essential. —Luke Burgis, ActivPrayer 4. Timing Boosts Your Success PotentialBad Idea + Wrong Time = Biggest Failure Ever. Bad Idea + Right Time = Total Failure. Good Idea + Wrong Time = Likely Failure. Good Idea + Right Time = Best Chance of Success. Timing is essential. A business can come to market before people are truly ready or after too many market leaders have established footing for you to truly get through the door, but in the end, I still think that a phenomenal idea that is well-executed can survive average or even poor timing. For example, last year, I would have said that the app Path was too late to the social media market, but the company has executed the business in such an amazing way that it no longer matters that it followed Twitter and Facebook. Path scratches an itch that those networks don’t, and it does it so well that it is growing like crazy. —Shaun King, HopeMob 5. Start Your Own TrendTiming is not everything. Some people get lucky but, over time, it is the ones who adhere to proven principles and have enough self-knowledge that continuously succeed. Trends come and go; change is constant. So, to paraphrase Gandhi, be the change you wish to see in the world. Great companies start trends and make movements—they don’t follow others, nor are they solely motivated by their greed to take advantage of fickle market whims. Believe in your own ideas, test your ideas, accept that you’re going to fail sometimes – or maybe a lot at first – and do it all in your own authentic style. Too often we focus on trying to “getting it right” within the context of others’ point of view. Rather, we should strive to get it right within our own perspective. —Matthew Ackerson, PetoVera 6. Overnight Successes Don’t ExistIt often takes longer than you expect for an idea to catch on. What that means is that when you’re working on an idea and worried that it’s “too early,” you need to be patient. Grow slowly and conserve cash until the market is truly ready. Many of the best companies start out when only the earliest of adopters are ready for it; with the patience and dedication of learning from those customers, they become prepared for the bigger opportunity that eventually exists. The challenge is keeping your finances tight during that time and seizing every opportunity to grow and learn from the market. Then what you may have been working on for years will suddenly seem like it has the “perfect timing.” —Jason Evanish, Greenhorn Connect 7. Timing Sure Does HelpI wouldnít say that timing is everything, but it certainly helps. I launched Money Crashers at the height of the recession and that certainly was to my benefit in the beginning. This is the way I look at it: If you launch a business based on a fading trend, youíre unlikely to succeed. For example, if you’re looking to start a small business based on the “daily deal website” business model, you may not have much luck. Some daily deal sites still exist, but many are struggling today. On the other hand, if you come up with a product or service that meets a need people didnít know they had, you can create your own market trend. One example of this is a website called Gradsave. With this website, you can create a way for family and friends to contribute to your child’s 529 plan. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance 8. Don’t Depend On TimingIf you’re depending on timing to ensure that your company is going to make money, you probably don’t have a sustainable business model on your hands. Timing may help, in terms of getting ahead of the competition, but you need to be sure that you’ve got something that can do well even if the timing gets screwed up. There are exceptions, of course, but personally, I wouldn’t want to run a business that is dependent on catching the wave of a particular fad. It’s just not going to provide long-term growth. —Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern ConsultingThe Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.center_img Tags:#start#StartUp 101 How to Meet the Demands of the Socially Conscio… How to Cultivate the Skill of Being a Creative …last_img read more

Facebook’s Open Compute Project Expands To Networking

first_imgThe Open Compute Project (OCP) – started two years ago by Facebook to promote open-source hardware solutions for data centers – announced on Wednesday that it has started a new project to develop a specification and “reference box” for a “open” networking switch.(See also Facebook’s Group Hug Frees The Microprocessor From The Motherboard.)The project will be led by Najam Ahmad, who runs the network engineering team at Facebook, and high-profile companies including Intel, VMware and Broadcom – among others – have already signed on to participate. The new project’s goals include helping software-defined networking (SDN) “evolve and flourish” and creating “flexible, scalable, and efficient” data center infrastructures. Just as the Open Compute Projects’ simple, generic and open server designs competed with server vendors like HP and Dell, this new initiative challenges networking leaders like Cisco. (See also Software-Defined Networking: What It Is, How It Works, Why It Matters.)The project is expected to kick off at the inaugural OCP Engineering Summit to be held at MIT next week.Image courtesy of Shutterstock IT + Project Management: A Love Affair 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Related Posts readwritecenter_img Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Tags:#Data Centers#networking#now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…last_img read more

Facebook’s Big Gay Question

first_imgowen thomas Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Related Posts Most technology companies have vague mission statements that put a feel-good gloss on how they make money. This weekend, Facebook actually lived up to its claimed ambition “to make the world more open and connected.”Sara Sperling, Facebook’s head of diversity and inclusion, dances next to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s San Francisco Pride float.On Sunday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for the first time, joined the company’s contingent of gay and lesbian Facebook employees and their supporters—some 700 of them, by the company’s estimates—to march in San Francisco’s Pride Parade. It was an unusually ebullient moment, given the past week’s Supreme Court decisions striking down both California’s ban on gay marriage and a federal mandate not to recognize such relationships.The Rainbow Connection At the same time, the company shared some statistics that suggest the social network has had a role in raising awareness about gay and lesbian rights. In the United States, 7 out of 10 Facebook users in the U.S. are connected to a user who has “expressly identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual on their timeline,” Facebook reported. Some 25 million users changed their profile picture, a spike in activity that often reflects a thematic response to holidays or news events.See also: The Internet Goes Red & Pink In Support Of Marriage EqualityWhile Facebook didn’t come out and say it, it’s entirely reasonable to think that the rise of social media played a role in accelerating the shift in views.Zuckerberg’s presence at Pride was just the latest gesture of support by the social network, which has a long history of friendliness to gays. One of its cofounders, Chris Hughes, is gay; when he married Sean Eldridge, Facebook created a same-sex marriage icon for the couple and others like them to post on their timelines.Tomorrow The World The challenge for Facebook: Can it take its campaign for openness global? Can it, in short, export the Northern California values of its workforce around the world?A spokesperson for Facebook said the company would “decline to speculate” on how Zuckerberg’s appearance in the Pride Parade would play with Facebook users overseas, which leaves us with the job.A disclosure is warranted here: I am gay and have lived almost my entire postcollegiate life in San Francisco. Since 2008, I’ve been in a marriage that the Supreme Court only recently decided the federal government must recognize. I also have gay friends who work at Facebook.Interestingly, Facebook has never had an option that allows you to identify as “gay” or “lesbian” in your profile. Instead, you list your gender, and the gender of people you’re interested in. Do a search for “gay men” on Facebook, and Facebook’s Graph Search feature gently corrects you to look for “men interested in men” instead. (That’s why Facebook had to analyze users’ timelines, rather than the data in their profiles, for expressions of sexual identity.)Here’s how Facebook’s Graph Search feature interprets the term “gay.”Hilariously or sadly or simply illuminatively, many Facebook users in countries outside the United States don’t seem to recognize the implied sexual nature of this interest, leading to far more “men interested in men” and “women interested in women” than you’d expect. Once you get past the knee-jerk giggles, it’s a sign of how the cultural values of Facebook’s designers and engineers inevitably shape the product in ways that don’t always travel well.Reaching The Next BillionCurrently, India is on track to becoming the biggest country for Facebook. It’s projected to overtake the United States and Brazil in 2014. Indonesia is likewise growing quickly. Neither country is known for being particularly friendly to gays or lesbians. Many countries in Africa have even more hostile regimes.Facebook’s next billion users will come from places where it’s much harder for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to be open and share.Facebook employees march in Sunday’s San Francisco Pride Parade.That’s the sobering thought that Facebookers, gay and straight, must face. As laudable as it is for them to stand up for equal treatment at home, many of their users face far greater struggles for equality. In some countries, even using Facebook can put gays and lesbians at risk if a “friend” exposes them.In that regard, Facebook is no better or worse than the societies it operates in. Yet Zuckerberg’s stand on Sunday suggests that the company aims not just to reflect the world, but to improve it.That is the hope—dare I say, the missionary zeal—that surely motivates Facebook employees. (Let’s be real: I doubt most of Facebook’s rank and file board their shuttle buses every morning pumped up to sell ads.)The tension they face is how to make this a natural outcome of a platform for connecting people, not an all-too-American company’s mission civilisatrice. It risks a blowback among the very people it hopes to reach and bind together in a more tightly linked world. One of Facebook’s internal mottos for employees encourages them to “move fast and break things.” I’m not sure that approach works for complex social issues like gay rights.But perhaps I am too timid.Another Facebook slogan asks: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”Maybe what you’d do is openly advocate for what you know in your heart is right.Photos courtesy of Facebookcenter_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#gay marriage#Gay Pride#gay rights#LGBT#Mark Zuckerberg#same-sex marriage#social networking A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Zero To $60K In Six Months: Bootcamp Bootstraps Women Developers

first_imgGrowing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Why You Love Online Quizzes Related Posts Thu Quach, 23, has always longed for a career in technology. But it’s plain to see the cards have been stacked against her. Being a woman in the tech field is already hard enough. Silicon Valley’s gender gap is well documented. Quach is also the first member of her family to go to college; her father never even completed high school. Yesterday evening, however, Quach won an award that could change her life forever—a scholarship to Code Fellows, the only programming boot camp that guarantees its participants a $60,000-a-year job after graduation. “When I heard the news, I knew this was going to open up a lot of doors for me,” said Quach. “In time, I’ll be able to be an inspiration to other women who want to learn to code.”An enormous opportunityCode Fellows is a Seattle education program devoted to teaching people Ruby on Rails coding skills within just four weeks. The $4,000 program isn’t cheap, but there’s a complete money-back guarantee for students who don’t receive a $60K job offer within six months.See also: No Boys Allowed: Four Coding Schools Just For GirlsJeff Pecor, a spokesperson for Code Fellows, said the company chose to launch a women-only program this summer in order to help redress the gender imbalance among the coding ranks. “From our point of view women are definitely disadvantaged in the industry,” he said. “There’s certainly a culture of ‘brogramming,’ so this is truly an opportunity to level the playing field for women.”When Seattle’s Women in Technology (WIT) caught wind of the program, it quickly partnered up with Code Fellows. WIT raised funds to cover a course scholarship for one disadvantaged woman.“The bootcamp is perfectly aligned with the goals of our organization, and it provides an ideal platform for putting our mission into action,” said WIT spokesperson Martina Welke. That turned out to be an understatement. Welke said WIT found it so “alarmingly easy to raise money” that it ended up with funds for two scholarships instead of one. Thu Quach and Andrea Salkey were chosen out of hundreds of applicants to receive the scholarships.Their storiesSalkey, a 26-year-old first generation American, wanted to make opportunities for herself that her parents never had in Jamaica. She found work as a web developer at an agency in Seattle, but after two years she felt she’d hit a roadblock. She found the scholarship application link on Reddit and signed up, hoping to learn new skills and bring new value to her career.“I do have a degree already, but I’ve found it’s very difficult to find work since I don’t have a very vast network. Throughout my career, I’ve been pushed to the side,” she told me. “I’m hoping after this, I’ll have a lot more opportunities.”Likewise, Quach is hoping to make the most of her Code Fellows experience. A student at the University of Washington in Bothell majoring in computer science, she freelances as a WordPress developer to help pay her student loans. Never content with being the first person in her family to get to college, she hopes to bootstrap a career off of the Code Fellows course. “I always wanted to be somebody who took my education to the next step,” she said. “My goal is to become a very well rounded developer. Learning Rails at Code Fellows is just going to be the first step for me.” On July 8, both women will enter a course that neither of them would have been able to afford otherwise, a prospect they both said they’re excited to begin. “I want to be able to inspire my younger sister and my nieces and show them this is possible for them, too,” said Quach. Photo by Ivan Storck for Women in Technology. Left: Karen Keasler, one of Code Fellows’ first female graduates. Center Left: Thu Quach. Center Right: Andrea Salkey. Right: Will Little, CEO of Code Fellows.center_img lauren orsini 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Tags:#education#learn to code#women in tech last_img read more

Are edge computing and IIoT changing the way we think about data?

first_imgAs we observe what’s happening in industrial enterprises, there’s an interesting evolution occurring—one that has important implications as companies make their first tentative steps toward the industrial Internet of things (IIoT).Traditionally, operational technology (OT) teams have tended to think of their environment in terms of the automation equipment within their environment, both hardware and software. They might describe themselves as a “Rockwell shop” or a “Siemens shop.” They identified with the tools that made automation possible.See also: In industrial IoT, think of a May-December romanceBut that’s beginning to change. We’re now seeing an increasing number of organizations where engineers are focused less on the tools and more on the data that’s generated by their automation systems. This evolution reflects the increasing recognition that data and advanced analytics offer tremendous opportunities for unlocking business value. More and more, people are focused on data rather than applications. That’s a major shift in mindset.What’s driving this shift? In part, it’s being driven by the explosive growth in data as a result of the increase in computing intelligence at the edge, closer to production processes. What are the four “I’s”?This is the first step in the progression to a true IIoT infrastructure—a progression I call “the four ‘I’s.” It starts with Insightful, using business analytics to drive insights and efficiencies. They can then progress to Intelligent, connecting elements across the infrastructure to enable real-time optimization. The ultimate state is Invisible, where decisions are made in real time based on artificial intleligence (AI) with no human intervention.Most industrial enterprises are in the Informed stage, though forward-looking enterprises are thinking strategically about their roadmap to the more advanced phases. Some industries are progressing faster than others based on their perceived return on investment. For example, the food and beverage industries are actively embracing IIoT technologies. They recognize the value of using real-time data analytics to help ensure not only production efficiency but also the safety and quality of their products, which is critical to the value of their brands. Other highly regulated industries are seeing the value in production data to help ensure compliance. Some “old school” industries, on the other hand, may be slow to recognize the value of data in terms of optimizing their efficiency or gaining a competitive advantage. As technology progresses, I predict these holdouts will begin to recognize real-time analytics as an essential component of a modern industrial enterprise—or find themselves playing catch-up.For the enterprises that “get it,” this growth in data—and its increasing criticality to the business—is a catalyst to modernize their infrastructure. That infrastructure needs to be scalable to accommodate accelerating data growth and flexible to allow new ways to use real-time data analytics. As they become more reliant on data, they need to think about how to protect that valuable data. That means viewing data availability and integrity as a core requirement, not as an afterthought. Jason Andersen Tags:#edge computing#featured#IIoT#Industrial Internet of Things#Internet of Things#IoT#top Jason Andersen is vice president of business line management and is responsible for setting the product roadmaps and go-to-market strategies for Stratus Products and Services. Jason has a deep understanding of both on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure for the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and has been responsible for the successful market delivery of products and services for almost 20 years. Prior to joining Stratus in 2013, Jason was director of product line management at Red Hat. In this role, he was responsible for the go-to-market strategy, product introductions and launches, as well as product marketing for the JBoss Application Products. Jason also previously held product management positions at Red Hat and IBM Software Group. The Ultimate Checklist on Ways to Prevent IoT D… 5 Industries Destined for Technological Disruption Related Posts How IoT Will Transform Cold Chain Logistics For… Electronic Design is Utilizing AI-Enabled Solu…last_img read more

Q&A on the TSP

first_imgBy Molly C. HerndonDid you join our January 12 webinar “Thrift Savings Plan Review“? If so, you know speaker Stewart Kaplan discussed several of the changes coming to the TSP as well as answered many questions participants had about the savings plan. Here, Mr. Kaplan provides detailed responses from our webinar participants:Q.     Can you move current TSP funds from traditional into a TSP ROTH? (Are there any opportunities to roll Roth accounts into a TSP ROTH? Or Can traditional TSP funds be moved into ROTH TSP funds?)A.      This is an in-plan rollover.  There’s a fairly detailed history of legislation that led eventually to the The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (“ATRA”), P.L. 112-240.  Basic ally, the change allowed plans to do in-plan Roth rollovers of more than just “otherwise distributable amounts.  Plans were never required to put this option in effect.  Some did and some didn’t.  The TSP conducted an exhaustive study considering all aspects to include experience and data of plans that had adopted it, a comprehensive study of the tax effects, etc., etc.  The results of the study were carefully considered by the FRTIB Executive board and they made the decision not to adopt this option for the TSP at this time.  This does not mean it will never be adopted.  So, it’s still possible at some point in the future, but it is not currently an option.Q.     What type of income qualify for tax free ROTH TSP contribution? Combat pay?A.     A service member can make contributions from: Basic Pay and, if they contribute at least 1 percent from basic pay, they can also contribute from special, incentive, and bonus pay if they receive it.  If receiving CZTE pay, that can be contributed to the TSP.  Although CZTE pay falls under the Annual Additions Limit, contributions designated as Roth are limited to $18,000. Basic Allowance for Housing, Basic Allowance for Subsistence and all other “allowances” are not pay and are NOT taxable and therefore not “income,” and not eligible to be contributed to the TSPQ.      Will retirees be allowed to contribute in the future from retired pay?A.      No.  No Defined Benefit Plan accepts contributions from anything other than the pay of active employees.Interested in learning more? Watch the recording of this webinar here.last_img read more

Olympus Announces OM-D E-M5 Mark II Camera, 5-Axis Stabilization with 60p Video

first_img  Sensitivity Range  200-3200, High Sensitivity Mode up to 25600   Crop Factor  x2   Battery  BLN-1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Product TourOlympus has created the following product tour showing off a few of the cameras new features.Cinematic ExamplesOlympus has created a few example videos showing the E-M5 Mark II in-action.In this first example Olympus shows us how the Mark II can be used to get cinematic looks. It’s hard to get a great understanding of the video quality due to the harsh color grade, but we would be wrong to say that the footage doesn’t look cinematic.Director of Photography John Brawley has created a beautiful lifestyle video showing the Mark II’s video potential. The majority of this film was shot handheld.Here is a behind-the-scenes video of that shoot. If you’re short on time skip to the end of the video where John shows us what the ungraded video looks like, and how much of a difference the 5-axis stabilizer makes on shooting video.This video shot by Markus Kontiainen and Janne Amunét features the Mark II in cold weather. The footage is pretty darn impressive all around.Perhaps the most facinating example of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II in action is this film shot by Edmond Terakopian. The film is a documentary featuring a London Taxi driver. It’s also a great example of the 5-axis stabilizer in action. Some of the shots in this film were shot handheld in a car, but from the smooth stabilization you would have thought they were shot using a track dolly.Pricing and AvailabilityThe Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be available in March for a price of $1,099.What do you think of this new camera? Will it be a revolutionary product for 2015?Share in the comments below.   Burst Shooting  10 fps   Storage Media  SD, SDHC, SDXC   Display Screen  3.0″ OLED Flip-Out Touch-Screen Olympus’s latest camera announcement might be a game-changer for video professionals and photographers alike.Every spring camera companies announce new products in the run up to April’s National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB). We’re in the middle of this wonderful season and Olympus is kicking it off with their latest camera announcement….The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark IIThere are a number of cool features to get excited about with this camera, but by far the most exciting is 5-axis sensor stabilization. Unlike optical stabilization, sensor stabilization takes place on the inside of the lens. The sensor will move to compensate for any camera sake.This isn’t the first time we’ve seen 5-axis stabilization. This revolutionary technology was first unveiled by Sony with their A7II, but the difference with this Olympus announcement is that the E-M5 uses a Micro Four-Third lens mount. As you may already know, Micro Four Thirds mounts can be adapted to accept a lot of different lenses, many more than a traditional DSLR. So instead of having to purchase really expensive lenses, users can use lens adapters with older lenses on a Micro Four-Thirds mount.The 5-axis sensor stabilization will add 5 stops of stabilization to the image.The E-M5 Mark II is equipped to shoot photos and video. Avaliable frame rates include  60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 frames per second. This is due to the improved IPM and AII-I compression formats.The camera also comes with a focus peaking function, meaning the camera will tell you if the image is in focus or not. However, it should be noted that when using the HDMI 4:2:2 output the focus peaking will be disabled.This camera can accept 1/8” microphone inputs which can be used with hotshoe microphones, like the Rode video mic. Users can change the audio levels during the middle of recording for both the on-camera mic and an external mic. However, there is not audio monitoring output on this camera. If you want to monitor sound on the E-M5 Mark II you will have to buy a separate hotshoe adapter or simply use an external recorder.Video aside, the Mark II is a very impressive camera when it comes to photography. The 16 megapixel sensor can actually process an ‘image’ up to 40MP. You read that right, a 16MP camera can shoot a 40MP image. In short, this process works by shooting a series of images across a one second span of time. The camera then stitches the images together to create a larger image.Other notable features include 10 fps burst shooting mode, built-in WiFi, and a 3.0” flip-out touch screen OLED monitor. The E-M5 Mark II is also the first Olympus camera to feature timecode information.Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Specs   Shutter Speed  1/8000 to 60 Seconds   Lens Mount  Micro 4/3   Image Stabilization  5-Axis Stabilization   Video  1080p: 60, 50, 30, 25, & 24 fps   Flash  None   Viewfinder  Electronic, 2360k-Dot   Sensor  16MP Live MOS Sensor   Video Output  4:2:2 1080p HDMI Output   Autofocus  Yeslast_img read more

Behind the Scenes With Wes Anderson

first_imgEver wonder what it’s like on set with the quirky director of The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenenbaums? Check out this behind-the-scenes featurette shot by his brother on the set of Rushmore.Top image via IMDBWes Anderson has endeared his way into mainstream and arthouse cinema with his whimsical mix of nostalgia and wit. His style is instantly recognizable (and easily parodied). However, before he was WES ANDERSON, he was a lanky young director hanging out the set of his second feature film, Rushmore.Eric Chase Anderson, as he explains in the opening narration, was tasked with creating his brother’s EPK for the film. In typical Anderson fashion, he narrates the behind-the-scenes featurette with playful introductions to the cast and crew as he journeys across the sets. Some great takeaways, for me at least, are a greater respect for the huge scale of (what was considered at the time) an indie production. It’s also always a bit jarring to see how some familiar scenes are shot so far removed from the finished product — i.e. shooting the Bill Murray swimming scene completely at night.If you’re a fan of seeing Anderson behind-the-scenes, there are EPK featurettes for several of his other films (Bottle Rocket, Life Aquatic, Darjeeling Limited) online as well.Have any thoughts on seeing Wes Anderson behind-the-scenes? Let us know in the comments below! Part 2 picks up where Part 1 leaves off and includes an interview with Bill Murray while he shaves his head, an impromptu piano performance with Jason Schwartzman and a shot-by-shot storyboard breakdown of the film’s first scene.last_img read more

Freeing Yourself From the Past

first_imgI send out a newsletter every Sunday morning. Each week I write about some big success principle that you can apply to your life, your work, or your sales game. I ask the community of people who subscribe to the newsletter to send me their stories, their thoughts, and their ideas, and a good number of people email me directly each week.Almost every week I receive an email from a newsletter subscriber explaining to me how the decisions of their past now defines their future. But outside of choosing to focus on some past event and choosing to use those stories to define you, you can’t be trapped in or by the past.That Was ThenYou aren’t trapped in your past. Even if you feel like you are.It doesn’t matter what decisions you made, and it doesn’t matter which decisions were made for you.You made poor choices. Your family made poor choices. You caused something bad to happen to someone else. Someone else caused something bad to happen to you.You did something wrong. You failed to do something and the result was awful.You made a choice and now you are unhappy. Or you’ve lived with a choice someone else made for you and you’ve come to both realize and regret it.This Is Here. This Is Now.At any time, at any point in your life, you can simply call for a do over. In fact, you are responsible to call for that do over. Why? Because this is the only life you have. And you only have the limited time remaining in which to do whatever it is that you were put here to do.Living in the past means cheating yourself of the life that you want now. Living in the past means cheating the rest of us of the life that you should be living now. It deprives us of the biggest and best version of you, the version we’ve been waiting for.The past decisions are shackles in which you have locked yourself. You have the power to free yourself from the past any time you choose to. Choose to make that time now. The past is already behind you; stop dragging into the future.last_img read more

My Morning Ritual

first_imgMy alarm goes off at 5:00 AM on weekdays, so I am in bed and on my way to sleep at 10:00 PM. On weekends, I sometimes sleep in as late as 6:30 AM. I set my coffee pot the night before, and I know it is safe to get out of bed as long as I can smell the coffee brewing.Mindfulness Meditation: For the first fifteen minutes I am awake, I do a mindfulness meditation. I like to use brain wave tracks from iAwake Technologies, but recently a friend of mine told me about an app called Headspace. Headspace walks you through a meditation, which is nice, especially if you have monkey mind (and it’s likely you do).Affirmations or Incantations or Whatever: I always want to set my mental and emotional state for the day (you do know that you can control this, don’t you?). I have a list of eight affirmations, or incantations, or meditations, or something that I recite every morning. They are all positive, and they all remind me to bring my best self to my endeavors for the day, whatever they happen to be. I’ve made very deliberate choices regarding what infections I allow into my mind, and I use these positive infections to crowd out weaker, disempowering ones.Journal Entry: I used to only write about what I was grateful for each morning. But now I am writing more and more observations. I always wanted to keep a journal, but it was worthless to me to invest the time since even I can’t read my writing. I use an app called Day One (for the Mac, iPad, and iPhone). This ten minutes kickstarts my writing.Writing: I have written something like 1.7 million words over the last five years. That wouldn’t have been possible but for the habit of writing every morning when my brain is fresh, and the world hasn’t yet started making demands of my attention. It used to take me an hour to write a post. Now it takes me something closer to 25 minutes. I always let a post sit and edit it later at night, before I post it.Running: I started running last year, and I now run 6 or 7 days a week. I have a coach, and some days I run more (I ran an hour and forty minutes today), and other days I run less (tomorrow will be 35 minutes). Your physical health is the key to having the energy and vitality to produce results.These are my morning rituals. What are your rituals?last_img read more

Winning By Accident or Intention

first_imgA lot of salespeople win deals by accident. Many of the sales organizations they work for also win by accident. But better salespeople—and better sales organizations—win intentionally.TargetsAccidental Targets: It is possible to win without being thoughtful about choosing who you call. You can bump into new business by accident. If you make enough calls and see enough prospects, you can win some new business.Intentional Targets: You win new business faster when you intentionally choose your targets. By choosing to call on the companies and people who value what you do, you win better clients at a much higher rate.Sales ProcessAccidental Process: You can win new business without having a real sales process. I know this for sure; I’ve done it. But you will lose more business by failing to acquire the outcomes and commitments that increase your chances of winning. Some salespeople (and sales organizations) aren’t winning as much as they should be because they don’t know how and why they lose. They accidentally win enough to make them believe they are successful.Intentional Process: There isn’t any reason not to do the best work possible when it comes to competing for new business. It’s difficult enough to win. You win by intention when you have a sales process that creates a competitive advantage. Knowing what outcomes you need and how to get them allows you to make selling intentional. The same is true of the commitments you need to gain.DifferentiateAccidental Differentiation: I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a salesperson describe the difference between their company and their competitor by suggesting that their company has better people. By saying this, they are saying that their company has all of the best people available, something very difficult to believe. I’ve also heard salespeople say that they were personally the differentiation, that there was nothing else different. And, sometimes these salespeople have won business in spite of their poor answer.Intentional Differentiation: Most companies need to use many factors to describe their differentiation. Some of it may be “what” they offer. But most of the time the difference is in “how” they deliver the value they create. The need for multiple factors to differentiate themselves is especially true for service firms. To win by intention, every salesperson should be able to explain quickly and accurately why your dream client should buy from you over your competitors.Perfect TimingAccidental Perfect Timing: You can win new business just by being in the right place at the right time. You may happen to call a prospective client right when they are experiencing a challenge that you can help them solve. Because you happen to be there, it’s easy to buy from you. But it is still accidental.Intentional Perfect Timing: If you are going to win intentionally, you need to be known as someone who creates value before your prospective client has a need to change. Your intention is to be known and trusted before an opportunity ever exists. You also want to be the very first person that the contacts within your dream client think of when they need help.CompetitorsAccidental Competitors: Some salespeople when by accident because many of their competitors are also winning by accident. But these salespeople mostly lose when they compete against salespeople who are winning by intention.Intentional Competitors: The best salespeople know that they are competing against other intentional salespeople. They work hard, study their craft, and refine their approach to try to gain a competitive advantage. And these intentional competitors almost always beat the salesperson who is only in the process by accident.Imagine an American football team that doesn’t have a set of plays designed to score points. Imagine a team with no strategy, no tactics, no training, no leadership, and no accountability. They may win accidentally from time to time. But over the long run, they won’t fare well over teams who are intentional. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Are you mostly winning by accident or by intention?What processes do you need to create to be even more intentional and rely less on good fortune?In what area could you intentionally create a competitive advantage?last_img read more

The Leadership Playbook: A List of Non-negotiables

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now There are some things that a leader cannot and should not negotiate. There are some things, some values, that must be written in stone and written clearly for all who come in contact with an organization to see. These are the non-negotiablesCulture: A leader must create and sustain a positive, empowering culture. Culture is  non-negotiable. If someone or something threatens culture, the leader is obligated to take action. Allowing a positive empowering culture to be destroyed is to allow the organization to be radically changed for the worse.Values: Values are what sustain an organization, especially through times of great change. Values are what persist, what provide a foundation. If one of the values is integrity, then allowing people to color outside the lines is a non-starter. The leader not only has to embody the values, she has to enforce them.How people are treated: People who are treated well perform better than people who are treated poorly. People who are trusted are more trustworthy, and people who are expected to take initiative and be resourceful try to do those things. When people are treated like their workplace is something between a prison and daycare, you lose great people. Leaders set the tone and ensure people are treated right. You can’t attract and build new leaders otherwise.Business models: This isn’t to say that business models can’t, won’t, or shouldn’t change. They can, will, and should over time. But only at the right time and for the right reasons. Allowing price reductions that inhibit your ability to produce results breaks the model. Selling products and services that don’t create the value your clients want, need, and expect from you changes the model, too. A leader cannot allow the model to be negotiated.A leader needs a list of nonnegotiable, things that cannot be allowed to change because someone doesn’t like the culture, the values, the business model, or who doesn’t want to treat other people well.last_img read more

Efficiency is Visible in Your Win Rate

first_img Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Now Win RatesThe question isn’t whether or not the ideas above improve efficiency. If you measure efficiency by the time and energy it takes to do something, they all pass the test. However, were you to measure the effectiveness, you might be surprised to discover that some outcomes don’t lend themselves to being automated, like setting up a recurring order with the florist to send your wife a dozen roses on your anniversary (You can check the box, but you will not have achieved the outcome).The effectiveness of the role might be improved, but so might the design of the roles altogether. You may be able to improve the message, but often you improve things by changing the medium. Humans are not as efficient or reliable as automation, but as long as human beings still decide, the inefficient human still does better at caring than any technology.If you want to improve your results, look first to effectiveness and then to efficiency. The question a leader must ask themselves is, “If someone else was given the resources in my charge, would they produce a better result?”The idea of efficiency in sales consumes us. Much of what masquerades as sales development and improvement is directed towards efficiency—not effectiveness.TaylorismTo achieve greater efficiency, we have redesigned the roles required to acquire a customer into ever thinner slices of responsibility. Frederick Winslow Taylor would have applauded this decision, recognizing the specialization of the function as a way to create greater efficiency.There are now “salespeople” whose only role is to “qualify” their “leads” and prospects, something that isn’t often perceived as valuable to the person being qualified.MediumsThere are more choices of mediums available to salespeople all the time, while none of the options have been eliminated or have “disappeared” (as some have stated, and some have wished). The choices include face-to-face meetings, video-enabled meetings, video messaging, web conferencing, telephone, text messaging, chat, and email.Some mediums are more effective than others when it comes to producing certain desired outcomes, but because email is efficient, it is often chosen over all others—even when you don’t obtain the outcome.AutomationMany things can—and likely should—be automated. Others don’t lend themselves to automation. If you want to develop a relationship with your dream client, automated emails from your marketing department aren’t likely to accomplish that goal.Automation isn’t caring. It doesn’t say, “I was thinking of you,” or “I want you to see this because I believe it is important.” One-to-many isn’t the same as one-to-one.last_img read more