Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Power of Introverts - TED Video

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crowd Funding: The 80-20 rule applies

Pareto’s Principle: The 80-20 rule

Definition: 80% of the results flow from 20% of the causes

This theory can be applied to
  • gardening – 20% of pea pods produce 80% of the peas
  • land owning – 20% of the population own 80% of the land
  • software – 20% of bugs create 80% of crashes
  • global wealth – 20% of the world’s population owns 80% of the wealth
pareto-principle 80-20
In business the theory would be;
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spend
  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your products
  • 80% of your sales are made by 20% of your sales staff
Application to crowdfunding
The research shows that the majority of your donations come from your close social networks. 

If this theory is true, approximately 80% of your funds will come from 20% of donors, who will be well known to you.  

It may also be the case that only 20% of your entire social connections will be donors to your campaign.

It is your task to a) discover who are the 20% who are willing to support your campaign or invest in your business, b) map these people in your strategy, before you launch your product or service and c) involve your core supporters directly from the outset.

80-20 pareto
Be Aware your potential donors will be;
  • closely connected to the team
  • have a long history of connection
  • existing customers or service users
  • be passionate about the cause or idea
Be aware, the key 20% of all your social connections will show one or more of these characteristics. 

The ones who tick all the boxes are the ones you need to focus on. 

Once you have connected with these potential donors, bring them into the campaign early so they are fully engaged, believe in it and want it to succeed. 

Continue to engage them throughout. Focus 80% of your energies here. If they bring you 80% of the funds then the 20% is more likely to follow.

NB: Be Aware that 80% of your complaints and service issues will come from 20% of your supporters, but that's another discussion for another day!

Quote by Adam Smith: The great source of both the misery and disorde...

Adam Smith

“The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.”

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ted: What Every Budding Social Entrepreneur Should Hear

Rachel Botsman The Currency of the Sharing Economy
Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do
Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen
Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic
Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen
Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius
Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy?
Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation
Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice
Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bad Managers Create Disgruntled Employees

Set a clear path to bring disgruntled employees back into the fold.
  • Encourage me more. When we asked the unhappy 16% to name the skill they thought was most important for their boss to demonstrate, the top response was "Inspire and motivate others." Too often, managers take a negative tone with disgruntled employees. Expecting that efforts to motivate will be ignored, none are proffered, and the expectations become self-fulfilling but data suggest managers should take the opposite view: Work harder to inspire this group. Keep the conversation positive. Plan for, and expect the best, not the worst.
  • Trust me more. It's probably not surprising that both parties — unhappy employee and bosses alike — distrust each other. The key to restoring trust is to operate with the belief that the other party can change. We encourage the manager to make the first move (cause that's your job) by making the effort to understand the employee's problems. Then, as both parties work on their relationship, they must strive for consistency —that is, the manager must strive to treat all employees equally, and both parties must strive to simply do what they say they will do. Over time, trust will grow.
  • Take an interest in my development. If a person works hard and gets a pay check he has a job but if a person works hard, gets a pay check, and learns a new skill, she has a career. Career development should not be focused only on the high-potentials. As counterintuitive as it may seem, don't leave the underachievers out when distributing stretch assignments.
  • Keep me in the loop. Communication is fundamentally a core management function, so this responsibility rests squarely with the managers. Great communicators do three things well. First, they share information and keep everyone well informed. Second, they ask good questions, inviting the opinions and views from others — all others. Third, they listen to everyone, not just the people they like.
  • Be more honest with me. People want to know how they're really doing on the job — and the one's not in favour perhaps even more than the one's feeling the warm glow of approval. They want to know why they're falling short. They want a chance to improve. Too often, though, the bottom 16% feel their bosses are shirking their responsibility by not giving honest feedback, glossing over problems with comments like "You're coming along fine," when clearly they are not. Alarmingly, many reported promises being made ("if you finish this project on time then...") that were not kept. Honesty is the bedrock of good relationships.
  • Connect with me more. Anything managers can to do improve their relationship with the disgruntled employees will have a significant positive influence. Here's where favoritism takes on its most concrete form: managers go to lunch more with people they like, our data show; they talk with them more socially (about children, sports, etc); they know them more personally. This is natural (and unprofessional), but so are the feelings of exclusion it creates among the less favoured. A small effort by managers to spread their attention around more broadly can go a long way here.
As a bad leader, your knee-jerk reaction to unfavoured (and disgruntled) employees is often — "It's their own fault!" Research shows this is not the case and that it is the result of shallow and unprofessional management, which begs the question "Who's managing the managers?"

Before you settle for letting your dissatisfied people go and cost your organisation thousands in employee turnover, take a moment to consider how these performers need and should be treated.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WbFusion White paper on Crisis Management and Social Media

To view the complete white paper click on the image or here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology

Martin Seligman talks about psychology, as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism. Full bio »

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Leadership Myths and how to overcome them!

In the 1840s, the great Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle created his “Great Man Theory,” which held that leaders have special powers and a special place in society and that the rest of us have a special obligation to defer to them.

Here are nine myths that leaders tell themselves today and what they should be saying instead.

1. I am a leader because I have been a leader before.
This is a blanket myth about the primacy of experience that the only people capable of leadership are those who have done it before.

However, experience is valuable only when one learns from it, with humility and maturity, by recognizing that each company, team, colleague and situation is different.

Many, many leaders are unable to forget the rote experiences of their pasts, and act on auto-pilot.

Ask yourself: How can you learn which experiences to forget?

2. I am so busy/important/able-to-focus-on-many-things-at-once that I often multi-task.
Your main “task” as a leader is to enable others to get things done. Checking your email during an important conversation with a direct report does not do this.

Leadership demands that you be fully present, yet too many leaders are distracted during key discussions, decisions, and developments.

How well do you remain present while leading?

3. I don’t have time to develop my leadership.
What a cop out! and at what point in the future will you be less busy?  Where is the value in your leadership, if your skills cannot stay slightly ahead of your team?

4. Leaders are born, not made.
While not everyone is capable of being a leader, or willing to make the required tradeoffs, leadership is an “observable, learnable set of practices,” according to “The Leadership Challenge,” by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.

“The belief that leadership can’t be learned is a powerful deterrent to leadership development,” they write.

How do you identify your weaknesses and learn to develop your own leadership?

5. My people tell me the truth about what’s going on in the organization.
Really? or do they just tell you what you want to hear?

Given the nature of power and authority, it is naïve to believe your people will bring you the truth easily, consistently, and without bias, unless you help them by actively seeking this kind of communication without punishing them for the content.

How do you openly encourage others to bring you bad news?

6. As a leader, I must always be "online"
While it is true that leaders are physically scrutinized more than non-leaders, it is a myth that a leader must actively leader at all times.

When a leader feels obliged to constantly “perform,” there is little room left for them to be 'themselves.' When authenticity and reflection are lost, decisions become reactive and mistakes become more frequent.

Sometimes the most appropriate approach is to turn your leadership button down or “off.” Only then can others grow.

Have confidence in the ability of others. Don't expect others to step up to the challenge if your barring the way.

How does your leadership style create space for others to grow and take charge?

7. I started the company/organization/team/office; therefore, I have the right to lead it.
Being present at the start of something entitles you to say, “I was here at the beginning.” Remaining in charge over time, legitimately, requires a continued demonstration of worthiness.

Founders need to put the interests of the group above their personal interests. Sometimes this comes only with conscious effort.  Tenure means tenure, not leadership.  To avoid this myth, ask yourself, “How do I continually earn the right to lead what I started?”

8. I have to roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty, lead by example, etc.
This is true – as long as you are engaged in the right activities. Often this myth motivates leaders to work on non-leaderships activities and to focus on problems that should rightly be left to others.

“Leading by example” must be demonstrated with leadership tasks (decisions, priorities, accountabilities, etc.)  Are you leading with your own work, or the work of others?

9. Leaders are fearless
Nonsense.  Fear is natural and necessary, and cannot be eliminated.  Consider the perspective of writer David Whyte: Fears need to be identified so that we “are not blinded when we face an unknown.”

We do not have to overcome our fears; we need to know what we are afraid of.  This requires courage, a word that originally means heart.  To be courageous, therefore, means to be heartfelt.

Whyte is correct.  Ask yourself, “What fills me wholeheartedly?”

The answer you find will be the core of your leadership – not some myth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sanjay Pradhan: How open data is changing international aid - TED Video

One of Mr. Pradhan's major points is that making information public is not enough. It must be made available in ways which are meaningful. Then and only then can things begin to change for the better. The relatively new trend toward developing nations looking to each other for models of success rather than to the North is a significant shift in thought and practice regarding how people might be lifted out of poverty. This is an important presentation, one which needs to be heard by anyone interested in helping to make the developing world a better place to live.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SEO and Marketing: What is HubSpot? - YouTube
HubSpot's All-In-One Inbound Marketing Software

It's time to reshape the way we think about marketing. Stop pushing. Start attracting. Stop interrupting. Start engaging.

HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Software gives you all the tools you'll need to make marketing people will love-- earning quality leads and loyal customers in return.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Analyse a Facebook page

Understanding the impact that the content put out on your brand's Facebook page has on your audience is a critical component in objectively analyzing the performance of your Facebook efforts. Conducting the analysis, however, is often easier said than done.

Facebook Insights provides a nice interface which allows you to see a number of metrics related to each post, but there are quite a few other post level metrics that are beneficial to the analysis yet are not visible in the interface. Gaining access to the additional metrics can be done by either using the

Facebook Graph API or exporting the data from Facebook Insights.

Once you have the data, it's time to get organized.

There are many ways organize the data for analysis, but the focus here will be on three top level segments and four metric categories, each of which can also be segmented.

After the analysis, you will have insights into questions such as "what type of post or mix of posts should I utilize in order to achieve a specific objective?" and "when is the ideal time to post?"


The top level segments are the type of post, such as link, photo, video or status, the time of day that the content was posted, and the day of week that it was posted.

Each of these will provide insights on its own or can be combined with other segments to provide even more in-depth insights. This information is provided by Facebook for every post.

You can also refrain from segmenting at all and instead compare all posts against each other. This can often be a good starting point to get a high level view of your individual posts.

Metric Categories

The next level down from the segments gets into the metrics that can be used to analyze the performance of each segment. The metrics can be organized into four categories, each of which can be seen in the figure below.
  1. Exposure: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It shows the number of impressions that were generated by your posts. This can be viewed as either total impressions, unique impressions (reach), or impressions by users who have liked your page. These metrics are useful on their own, but become even more useful when used as part of derived calculations, which will be touched on at the end.
  2. Consumption: This one moves beyond exposure to having some sort of meaningful interaction with your post. This category is called consumption since it is an indication that the user went from being exposed to your post to consuming the content of the post. The sub-metrics of consumption include video plays, photo views, link clicks, and other clicks on the post. Similar to exposure, consumption can also be looked at in aggregate or segmented by the number of unique users who consumed the content and the number of consumptions that came from users who have liked the page.
  3. Engagement: This is the step you hope users take after being exposed to the post and consuming the posts content. The sub-metrics here include likes of the content, comments about the content, and shares of the content. Engagement can also be viewed in aggregate or segmented by unique users who engaged and engagements that came from users who have liked the page.
  4. Negative Feedback: This is one that you hope to minimize since it is an indication that the content you're releasing isn't relevant or viewed as spam. Examples of sub-metrics for this category include reporting the post as spam and clicking the X button, which hides the post from the users view.
All the metrics described above are easily accessible using the Facebook Insights export feature or for more advanced users via the Graph API.

You're probably familiar with some of these metrics just from using the Facebook Insights interface, but you need to bring the data out of Facebook Insights in order to perform the real analysis.

Once you have your data together in a spreadsheet, you can supplement it with your own derived calculations that will add value by providing greater insights into the performance of your content.

Just like the metric categories and sub-metrics described above, the derived metrics should also be segmented to give greater insights.

Some insightful metrics that can be used in aggregate or segmented include:
  • Percent of page fans reached by each post
  • Page fan engagement rate vs. non-page fan engagement rate
  • Consumption rate of videos vs. consumption rate of photos
  • Negative feedback rate for each post type
These are just a few basic examples of derived metrics. There are many others that can also be computed depending on the objectives of your Facebook page.

Monday, September 10, 2012

8 Things to Consider When Writing a Social Media Strategy

1. Set Clear Goals
Many of us name the activity we pursue as “B2B Social Media Engagement” or “Social Media Marketing.”

While this is often accurate, what we want to achieve with social media can turn out to be something more specific than these general descriptions (i.e. branding, recruiting, lead generation creation, exposure for new products, building a reputation, finding new business partners/customers, gathering information).

When done right, social media will influence more than one aspect of a business. Succeeding in one area of social media will help other elements of your business strategy. (Once you have built an active community and engaged within it – you will propel your marketing efforts.)

To achieve what you are aiming for, be clear in what you expect and what you wish to gain from your activities.

You should also be clear about what kind of results you want in terms of timeframe and actual numbers.

Unrealistic expectations will result in frustration, but having specific goals is essential for measuring success. (The answer to your goals and expectations can even be that social media is not the best solution for you and a different marketing investment is better suited for your professional needs.)

Remember to be patient; social media is a long-term relationship.

2. Hone in on Your Target Group
There is virtually no group of people that you cannot find in social media. Therefore, knowing whom you wish to speak with is essential to reach your desired results. It is building these relevant and active relationships that breeds lasting social media and business success.

Once you have determined your target group, the next step is to know where to find them — and how communicate with these people. Choosing the right outlets and content for your target group is crucial to social media success.

3. Know Where You Stand (What does your current online audience look like?)
There is a vast difference in social media between starting at zero and building on an already established audience. (This applies to whatever networks/outlets you decide to pursue.)

It is also important to understand the existing knowledge of your employees. Do they already have experience, content and real life contacts that will influence your strategy and the time you need before seeing results?

Keep in mind that you need people to want to listen to you before you can tell them what you want them to know. Once you have them listening, you need people willing to share your content before it can make a true impact.

If you have already built an interested audience willing to share – connect and give them good content they are likely to share.

If you do not (yet) have a following, start with outlets that make it easy to build a community. Twitter, Pinterest, publishing platforms and news aggregates are good places to access already-existing communities.

Note: Do not make the mistake to measure the entirety of your social media influence by the outcome of your first feeble attempts at social media. The “gurus” with whom who may want to compare yourself have been doing this for years.

It takes time, diligence, measured campaigns/calculations, and a series of trial and error to find what works for you.

4. Utilize Your Budget and Resources
It will always take time to build an influence within social media. However, there are ways to speed the process.

Hiring a strong team of people with familiarity within social media channels and a willingness to learn and experience is one way to combat the enemy that is time in social media.

Investing in ad campaigns and optimization tools is another. While money is not the only answer, it is essential to utilize the means you have available.

Warning: Do not fall victim to the myth that social media is free.

5. Allow Your Time Frame to Be Flexible 
If you expect “Big Time” results tomorrow – buy them. If you want to achieve success by connecting with people, building a reputation, branding your business and establishing trust – understand that this process takes time.

Being clear from the beginning about what you want to achieve – and in what amount of time – helps you to decide on your optimal strategy and the means by which you can achieve set goals.

6. Rely on Your Employees  
For each company, there are different ways to pursue a social media employee strategy. You can outsource all of your activity, hire a complete internal team, or find a blend between the two.

The decision to involve people in different parts of your strategy will involve consideration about content creation, which networks to target, how much activity and branding you can do with given resources (and employees).

The experience, the communicative skills and the personality of your employees will help to establish network influence. Hire specialists when necessary, but don’t miss out on utilizing the talents and communities of your existing employee network.

7. Utilize Various Outlets
Social media is not all about Facebook. Especially in B2B, Facebook might not be the right outlet for your activity (even though you can, theoretically, reach almost anyone, worldwide).

There are countless other networks that are interesting for your business and may be better suited to reach your target group.

If you are starting out with limited resources in time and money, select channels for publishing and spreading your content; figure out how they work and get them started.

There are social media outlets where it is easy to start and utilize a given audience and others where you have to work hard to build a following.

For an easy start, consider including some of the easy to use networks providing you with an already established audience.

For publishing you can reuse your content on news aggregate sites like Business2Community or directly tap into the community on exploreB2B. For spreading an easy start are matching LinkedIn groups and build a following on Twitter.

Once you have the accounts running, keep managing these communities while looking for other outlets that fit into your strategy.

8. Understand the Important Process of Content Creation
The kind of content best suited for you depends on many of the already mentioned aspects of your marketing strategy: What you want to achieve? Whom do you want to reach?

Which networks best achieve these goals? Once these questions have been answered, the content itself can take on many forms: videos, articles, pictures, graphics, and more.

For many people, the question about what content to use is the most difficult to answer. Maybe this is due to the fact that the possibilities are so vast that there is no short answer to this question.

There are some basics you should keep in mind when deciding on what type of content to produce. Think about what your target group wants to know instead of what you would like them to know about your business.

Look around and find out what you like to read or watch – this is often the best hint on what your audience will also want to read and watch.

There are numerous lists on content ideas to help you get inspired and start being creative.  Include your employees into your content creation process and give a voice to your happy customers.

These are often the most under-utilized voices that can help create trust and formulate a reputation for your outstanding business.

Final Remarks:
There are numerous decisions to make before you start. Some decisions will certainly turn out to be “wrong” and you will have to adjust your strategy.

But if you start with a clear idea, you will be able to identify where you went astray, and can get back right on track.

In the end, you just have to get started and find your own way. All of those experts you look up to right now have once been in your position, too. They have made some mistakes, learned, (re-learned) and kept going.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Infographic: The Problem with Projects

Effective project management relies on precision. Projects that miss deadlines and exceed budgets are more likely to require remedial intervention, restarting or cancellation.

The success of a project relies on hiring the most experienced, project manager.

Why do projects fail and how PMPs can help

NB: This Infographic is an advert for Villanova University, a provider of PMP Project Management Certification.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Innovation is Creativity x Risk Taking

Innovation is impossible to achieve without taking a necessary amount of risk. In a world where the success rate of new product entries in the grocery business is 1 in 100, it is inevitable that every success sees failures along the way.

An effective innovation leader should encourage creativity and risk taking, while also practicing a tolerance for failure.

To foster initiative and innovation, ask yourself these questions.
  • Do you allow free research and development (R&D) time?
  • Do you invest in innovation: money, people, resources?
  • Do you celebrate failure and risk taking?
In a tough economy the willingness to take risks can wither, so it’s critical to let team members know that failure will not result in punitive measures.

A strong leader practices failure management by setting and agreeing on the risk taking bandwidth or budget. It is ok to fail but that failure should be seen and recognized as a learning experience.

Fear of failure is an innovation killer, so here are some simple steps to develop a failure management plan that will lead to a culture of sustainable innovation.
  1. Clearly communicate the risk profile you are asking your people to adopt and state why it is important to the organization’s success. This limits your potential loss, while opening up the floor for creativity and risk taking.
  2. Never allow an unsuccessful risk to hamper a team member’s opportunities and advancement. A culture of innovation depends on trust.
  3. Create and communicate the results of an award program created with a high intraorganizational profile. It should, ideally, reward risks that pay off and “gee, nice try’s” that don’t.
  4. Establish a formalized, non-accusatory process for harvesting key learnings from unsuccessful risks. Distribute these lessons learned. The key here is that all risks, whether successful or not, contribute towards the end goal.
  5. Give your people the situational risk assessment tools they need to help them improve their risk-taking decisions. This can include risk scoring systems to identify different levels of risk, and ways to deal with adverse situations as part of a preventive strategy.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Inspire or Die Trying

Share Gapingvoid Art

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Plug-In Hybrid Retrofit Kit designed for mileage savings - YouTube

Powered by at least nine MTSU students' work since 2008, Dr. Charles Perry continues driving toward success in the development of the plug-in hybrid retrofit kit for any car.

Perry, who holds the Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence, and a five-member team saw gas mileage increase anywhere from 50 to 100 percent on a 1994 Honda station wagon retrofitted with laboratory prototype plug-in hybrid capability.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FinSpy Spyware Appears in 10 Countries

It is one of the more elusive commercial cyber-espionage tools available.

It is marketed as a way for governments to spy on criminals and for over a year, virus hunters unsuccessfully tried to track it down.

Now it is popping up across the globe, from Qatar to an Amazon server in the United States.

FinFisher is a spyware product manufactured by the Gamma Group, a British company that sells surveillance technology. It says its spyware offers “world-class offensive techniques for information gathering.”

According to FinFisher’s promotional materials, the spyware can be “used to access target systems, giving full access to stored information with the ability to take control of the target system’s functions to the point of capturing encrypted data and communications.”

Security researchers who studied the spyware last month said it can grab images of users’ computer screens, record their Skype chats, remotely turn on cameras and microphones, and log keystrokes.

The Gamma Group markets FinFisher as a way for government law enforcement and intelligence agencies to keep track of criminals, but the researchers’ findings suggested that it was being used more broadly.

The spyware first attracted attention in March 2011 after protesters in Egypt raided the country’s state security headquarters and found an offer to buy FinFisher for 287,000 euros, or $353,000.

Then in May of this year, pro-democracy Bahraini activists, one in London, another in Washington and one in the Bahraini capital, Manama, started receiving suspicious e-mails, which they passed to a Bloomberg reporter.

Read the full article here: Elusive FinSpy Spyware Pops Up in 10 Countries -

Monday, August 13, 2012

Swine Flu Cases Rising With New H3N2 Strain Transmissible Human To Human

Swine flu is making a comeback as a new strain of the virus has begun spreading, with more than 100 U.S. cases reported this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The surprising culprit? State and county fairs and doctors warn it has become much easier to transmit among humans.

So far, 145 cases of the influenza A variety of the virus have been found in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Hawaii. None of the cases were deadly, but two led to hospitalization. The agency expects the number to increase.

The majority of cases occurred in children and young adults, according to Dr. Joseph Bresee of the CDC's Influenza Division. Most of the cases have been associated with close or indirect exposure to pigs. The wave noticeably coincides with state and county fair season.

"This time of the year is the time when you have fairs around the country ... thousands of them," Bresee told reporters. "That accounts for the increased transmission more than anything else."

Indiana's number of cases has risen by seven to 120 since the CDC released its figures.

"Surprisingly, the greatest, overwhelming percentage (of cases) is in people 16 years and younger," Dr. Gregory Larkin, Indiana state health commissioner, reported.

"As our investigation continues, we're seeing transmission from ill or infected swine, or hogs, to their handlers, which in most of these cases are kids."

Doctors recommend that anyone who comes in close contact with swine wash their hands, avoid
consuming fluids or food around pigs and avoid direct contact with the animals.

The new strain of the virus, H3N2, picked up a gene from the H1N1 virus that caused a pandemic three years ago. The mutation makes it more easily transmissible among humans, with sneeze or coughs spreading the virus among mammals.

Bresee said a vaccine for the H3N2 strain is in the early stages of development.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

GAUSS: Flame and Stuxnet Cousin Targets Lebanese Bank Customers, Carries Mysterious Payload

The Gauss payload appears to be highly targeted against machines that have a specific configuration i.e. a configuration used to generate a key that unlocks the encryption.

So far the researchers have been unable to determine what configuration generates the key. They’re asking for assistance from any cryptographers who might be able to help crack the code.

“We do believe that it’s crackable; it will just take us some time,” says Schouwenberg. He notes that using a strong encryption key tied to the configuration illustrates great efforts by the attackers to control their code and prevent others from getting a hold of it to create copycat versions of it, something they may have learned from mistakes made with Stuxnet.

According to Kaspersky, Gauss appears to have been created sometime in mid-2011 and was first deployed in September or October of last year, around the same time that DuQu was uncovered by researchers in Hungary.

DuQu was an espionage tool discovered on machines in Iran, Sudan, and other countries around August 2011 and was designed to steal documents and other data from machines.

Stuxnet and DuQu appeared to have been built on the same framework, using identical parts and using similar techniques.

Flame and Stuxnet also shared a component, and now Flame and Gauss have been found to be using similar code as well.

Kaspersky discovered Gauss only this last June, while looking for variants of Flame.

Flame and Stuxnet Cousin Targets Lebanese Bank Customers, Carries Mysterious Payload | Threat Level |

Words: The Importance of

Words, a fantastic new episode of WNYC’s always-excellent Radiolab, examines the importance of words by imagining a world without them.

From a look at Shakespeare’s linguistic chemistry to a first-hand account of what it’s like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke (yep, we’re talking about Jill Bolte Taylor of blockbuster TED Talk fame) to a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life and revealed the worldview-changing insight that everything has a name, the hour-long program offers a profound perspective shift in this currency of our day-to-day that we take for granted.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Richard Dawkins - Your 185 Millionth Great Grandfather Was A Fish - YouTube Video

Richard Dawkins : The Magic Of Reality

Your 185 Millionth Great Grandfather Was A Fish

Thursday, August 2, 2012

NASA ESA Research Backlog on ISS

With major construction complete on the International Space Station, member states have been touting the benefits to be gleaned from the experiments aboard the fully operational orbiting laboratory.

However, there have been recent hints that expectations may be just too high – and experiments are piling up.

The major issue with conducting research on ISS is the limited availability of crew to execute and monitor experiments.

Although ISS is officially in operation mode, there are still many maintenance activities that take up crew time.

“Currently crewmembers are working 13 or 14 hours a day, and out of that we can get about 6.5 hours of mission programmatic work done,” returned ISS astronaut Don Pettit told the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on July 25.

“That’s because we’re in a harsh frontier, and we spend 13 or 14 hours a day just to keep the machinery going and keep it possible for human beings to be there. You’ll find this is commensurate with other frontiers that are harsh on the surface of Earth.”

With the extended work days on top of dealing with the physiological and psychological strain of being in space and the extra effort needed just to peform daily tasks such as hygiene, exercise, and food preparation, there are signs that the pressure is taking its toll.

For instance, a recent mishap resulted in a set of student experiments being returned to Earth unactivated. An astronaut was supposed to flex the MixStix vials to mix their contents while they were aboard.

Although Nanoracks has taken responsibility for the mistake, citing inadequate training of the astronauts, clearly the crew have mastered much more complex technologies.

With space agencies, particularly NASA, pushing to justify increased – or at least not reduced – domestic space program spending, there is increasing pressure to produce results from ISS research.

NASA is currently pursuing two avenues to increase experiment capacity on the station. For the near term, the agency is in talks with Russia to borrow cosmonauts’ time to help out with research on the US side of the station and is working to use robotics such as Dextre to replace crew activities whenever possible.

More long term, NASA hopes to increase the station’s crew complement from six to seven. Although there is plenty of space aboard ISS to house another person, the Soyuz capsule is only able to carry three crew members at a time – and at this time is the only transportation option for getting crew to and from ISS.

Exceeding six crew members could impede the ability to evacuate in event of emergency. However, the development of commercial crew capabilities may alleviate this constraint, with capsules being designed to hold four or more crew.

The question, of course, is when such capability will be ready and available for use. In the meantime, the six ISS crew members must do the best they can.

David Erdal in Director: Humanity Working

Here's a thought: your company is the most productive in its industry. The people in the business care deeply about it; they understand how it works; they contribute energetically and are constantly coming up with ideas to transform it.

They have the lowest rates of absence and turnover in the sector, and they share a desire to keep the company independent. As for customers, this is a business not just appreciated but loved by them.

Just a pipe dream? Not at all – this description is true of many companies owned by all their employees. There is one proviso: employee-owners must be treated not as mere employees, but as partners.

They must share comprehensively in the rights that ownership confers: information, influence and the wealth created.

In any business, employees are partners. They are not under anyone's control, like robots or hire cars. Employees are people: they choose to co-operate – or not, as the case may be.

When they own the company, the stage is set to arouse the instincts for committed effort and innovation. When people own a business, it follows that they work harder, think actively about the organisation and stick with it through thick and thin. It's common sense. Ownership as the driver of performance? That's capitalism.

Read the full Article in Director Magazine: David Erdal

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pinterest: Tips for Branding

Pinterest has become a power when it comes to driving traffic to retail sites. In the wake of this explosion, there’s already been a fair amount of wriitng on Pinterest as a marketing tool but we haven’t seen anything about Pinterest as a branding tool.

Pinterest has some pretty sweet demographics. Everyone knows the ladies love it. It turns out, those ladies tend to make more than $100,000 per year, while 50% of them are in the coveted 25-45 year old cohort. Half of them have kids. So – upper middle class, harried moms.

A simple, attractive, social site like Pinterest is tailor made for these folks and some retailers and others.

Using Pinterest for Branding:
  • Make sure Pinterest fits into your brand and social media strategy. No brainer here, but obviously not every social media outlet is appropriate for every brand. Although some entities and organizations that I wouldn’t have expected (looking at you, US Army)have turned up on Pinterest, and are apparently successful there.
  • Focus on lifestyle, not products. Brands like Whole Foods have been successful on Pinterest, not by posting links to their own products (although they do this), but by promoting a lifestyle that supports their brand. Their pins are shots of beautiful people in beautiful kitchens making beautiful food (hey! That’s available at Whole Foods!) Links to their own products are in the mix, but don’t dominate.
  • Make sure your own photos rock. Look at the other photos in your stream if you’re not a photographer and emulate your favorites. Or hire a professional photographer to shoot your merchandise.
  • Build an online catalog – if you’re a fashion designer, for example, create separate pinboards for your collections. Pretend this doesn’t contradict what I wrote before.
  • Optimize your Website for pinning by making sure it includes great images. On the other hand if images are not a strong suit for your brand, or simply inappropriate for your market, Pinterest may not be the most effective space for you to market. Stay away.
  • Place a “Pin It,” button on your Website, especially if you have great photos of your products. This allows users of your site to easily post images of your amazing wares to their pinboards.
Pinterest still has that “new car smell.”
Right now Pinterest is an exciting new toy. Everyone loves it and almost everyone is using it, but we still don’t know if this is a long-term success or a flash in the pan.

Regardless of its staying power, though, the most important keys to effectively using it for branding are not that different from any other branding tool.

Know your market. Measure your results. Be consistent and persistent. Don’t contradict your core brand values. Finally, Pinterest’s strengths (simplicity, visual flair) lend themselves to having fun with it. So have fun!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

PLOTTO: The Master Book of all Plots!

In 1894, French critic Georges Polti recognized thirty-six possible plots, which included conflicts such as Supplication, Pursuit, Self-sacrifice, Adultery, Revolt, the Enigma, Abduction, and Disaster.

In 1928, dime novelist William Wallace Cook, author of Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots, did him one better, cataloging every narrative he could think of through a method that bordered on madness.

His final plot count? 1,462.

Plotto, reissued last month by Tin House, was a manual that aimed to mechanize the entire narrative trade.

In his introduction, Paul Collins recognizes that Cook was something of a plot machine himself, once writing fifty-four novels in a year, more than one a week.

Cook’s methods were developed into a Plotto Studio of Authorship in New York City, his book hailed as “an invention which reduces literature to an exact science.”

While still a young director in England, Alfred Hitchcock requested the book from America, and the creator of the courtroom drama Perry Mason claimed he had learned a great deal from it.

The success of Plotto inspired other write-for-pay miracle workers. In 1931, screenwriter Wycliffe Hill declared that he had invented a “Plot Robot,” which turned out to be nothing more than cardboard wheel of options that would help you choose a plot in the same way you might choose a color for your living room.

Optimise Social Media, Search, Content. Video interview of Lee Odden by Jay Baer - YouTube

Optimise your social media, search engine optimisation (SEO), and content marketing.

Combining these three critical elements into one strategic program is the key to success, says Lee Odden, author of Optimize.

Lee is interviewed about his book and content optimization by Jay Baer of Convince & Convert.

Harnessing the Power of Infographics - YouTube

Jay Baer interview Mark Smiciklas about The Power of Infographics and how to make inforgraphics that make sense, and get noticed.

If Social Networks were students in high school — Lost At E Minor

Ever wondered what the poster kids of social media would be like if they all went to high school like us?

This infographic by Flowtown puts each social network down to their student stereotype as well as the clubs they would have joined.

Which makes Twitter the gossip girl, Wikipedia the nerd, LinkedIn the class prezzie … you get the drift.

Explains why we always thought they seemed quite familiar.

See more images here at my favourite creative web site:

If Social Networks were students in high school — Lost At E Minor: For creative people

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There are 3 Phases to establishing Social Media

Phase #1: Launch

The launch phase of social media is focused on setting up the major social network accounts with brand assets.

This launch phase should see very little actual results in terms of traffic or income spike as it is focused on preparation and set up.

The objective of this phase should not be measurable results rather just having a social media presence.

Phase #2: Management

The management phase is where you have out of set up and into executing the social media plan that you developed.

This is where you are posting content, increasing traffic, generating likes and followers. During this stage you should be focusing on content, creative and offer development and tracking your ROI.

Again results in this stage may not be amazing, this is your “testing phase”.

Phase #3: Optimization

The optimization phase is the final and probably most important phase of your social media campaign.

In this phase you are focusing on the metrics of your social media efforts to date and working to improve areas for greater return on investment.

Focus on improving your metrics and results to a level that is acceptable for your business.

As you can see social media is not an immediate pay off, instead you need to be working towards a result by building on your campaigns, tracking and improving your results.

Don’t fall for the “instant solution” myth that many people believe about social media. While it does have great user engagement and statistics it’s important to note that like any marketing campaign it takes time to get right.

Tony Robbins and Human Needs - You Tube

According to Tony Robbins, there are the following six needs we all have:
1. Certainty – the need to be safe and comfortable
2. Variety – the need for physical and mental stimulation
3. Significance – the need to feel special and worthy of attention
4. Love & Connection – the need to be loved and connected to others
5. Growth – the need to develop and expand
6. Contribution – the need to contribute beyond yourself

Ask yoursel which two of the six human needs do you value most? By discovering what drives you, you can more easily understand your past decisions as well as be more proactive in the decisions you make regarding your future.

If you have a spouse or significant other, take a guess at which needs drive them. By knowing this, you’ll be in a MUCH better position to give them what they not only want, but need

Stop Bitching! 6 Steps to Help Resolve Conflict

Hopefully you do not find yourself inconflict with someone or something but the fact it only happens occasionally means we are not well practiced in dealing with it.

So firstly we have to take some advise from someone who knows and deals with conflict regularly and has a logical approach to resolving or lessening the tensions.

The following steps are not necessarily easy to achieve but, as all good psychologists and councillors will tell you, you must really want to change. The Dalai Lama in his wisdom advocates that you 'be the change you are seeking in your life.'

With that in mind, here are a few key steps that may not resolve every conflict, but will certainly help to improve your interpersonal communications and ease your journey.

1. Drill down to find the real issue. 
If an when you get upset, you become flooded with hormones and emotions. Your mind can start to resemble a bee hive of activity, without clarity of thought and a lack of clear focus.

Your goal at this stage is to drill down and to really try to figure out what you are actually most upset about. It's not easy in the height of an emotional outburst, but your job is to keep drilling until you hit the core of what is most upsetting.

Once you get past feeling angry and thinking that your boss, colleague or friend is a jerk, you may find that there is something deeper that is really troubling you.

Are you upset that your boss called you out in a meeting when he knew you didn't have the answer or that you're really upset you weren't prepared?

Knowing the answer to why your emotions are triggered will have a profound effect on how you handle the situation.

2. Look for Positive Intent.
It's critical you do your best to determine the other person's positive intent. What's positive intent? Well, negative intent is when you attribute the other person's behaviour to them wanting to hurt you and do you harm.

When you are in the middle of a heated argument, picking up on 'negative intent' comes naturally. "Why is he/she doing this to me?" is a perfect example of assigning negative intent. The initial assumption is that someone is trying to hurt you or make your life more difficult.

It's difficult to resolve a conflict if you think the other person is hell-bent on doing you harm, it does happen but it's in the minority.

Instead, play detective and try to figure out their positive intent. What positive outcome were they trying to achieve? If all else fails, ask them!

Once you have uncovered this intention, understanding and empathy, if appropriate, can begin to flow more easily.

3. Step into their shoes. 
As with all these steps, it is easier said than done, especially when emotions are running high but if you really want to /need to resolve the disagreement or conflict, this is essential.

Pretend you are the other person and answer these questions: What are your goals? Which of the six human needs are you trying to meet? (See below)
  1. Certainty – the need to be safe and comfortable
  2. Variety – the need for physical and mental stimulation
  3. Significance – the need to feel special and worthy of attention
  4. Love & Connection – the need to be loved and connected to others
  5. Growth – the need to develop and expand
  6. Contribution – the need to contribute beyond yourself
What must I have been thinking and feeling in order to respond/react the way I did, remembering to continue to assume positive intent and that there is no truth, only interpretation.

The assumption is, when you can step into the other person's shoes you can begin to see and understand their interpretation which can help you resolve the conflict.

4. Focus on what you wish for.
Get clear on precisely what you need to have happen. Maybe at this point you realize it's not worth resolving the conflict, but make sure you are clear bout this.

Alternatively, you may decide that really need is to rekindle the relationship. Whatever it is, figure it out.

Stop focusing on what you didn't get and all the things that didn't work out and start focusing on what is possible and what you need to have happen now.

You may 'want' some penitent action from the other party, a heartfelt apology and a dozen roses, but what you should put this aside and think on what really is the minimum you need to resolve this conflict. Your answer will be your guide going forward.

5. Create a constructive plan.
You've taken a step back and tried to figure out the other person's perspective, now you want to cultivate a positive result. It's the time to determine the best course of action to get you what you need.

Should you send an email? A phone call? Call in a mediator? What can you do that will increase the chances you'll get your wish from step 4? Your game plan should focus exclusively on only those things you can control.

Sitting back and waiting for the other person to apologise is not an effective game plan because you can't control this.

So, what can you control?
  • Scheduling a meeting? Yes. 
  • Having a civil conversation about what happened? Of course. 
  • Taking responsibility for things you would have done differently? Absolutely. 
  • Do you see what's happening here? Of course.
You are controlling what you have control over to create an opportunity and an environment where an apology is possible, but more positively, a peace treaty, a ceasefire or a more collaborative relationship can be agreed.

6. Step UP and Step Forward.
Now that you know what you both, need and can you control, go get it started, no one else will get it done.

We have gone through this process with many third parties, and while some personalities and egos may still hurt and remain affected by what happened, they have a greater understanding and perception of the other party's "outlook." The success is seen when all parties get together to actively and openly participate in the dialogue.

Conclusion: Happy Ever After?
Resolving conflict is not a simple task, but by keeping these guidelines in mind, it can be less painful, more effective and less protracted.

For more information on the process and resolution of conflict contact me here at this blog.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Humanizing Computer Aids affects Trust and Dependence

Computerized aids that include person-like characteristics can influence trust and dependence among adults, according to a Clemson University researcher.

A recently published study by Clemson University psychology associate professor Richard Pak examined how decision-making would be affected by a human-like aid.

The study focused on adults' trust, dependence, and performance while using a computerized decision-making aid for persons with diabetes.

The study is one of the first to examine how the design of decision-support aids on consumer devices can influence the level of trust that users place in that system and how much they use it.

Richard Pak
The design and look of an aid are important elements for designers because of the potential dangers associated when users trust unreliable decision aids or lack trust for reliable aids simply because of the their appearance.

"Just as trust is an important factor in how humans deal with other humans, it also can determine how users interact with computerized systems," Pak said. "Trust can be influenced by the aid's reliability and level of computerization as well as the user's experience and age."

Many people interact with computerized decision aids or automation on a daily basis, whether they're using smart phones, digital cameras or global positioning systems. When automation is only reliable sometimes, a person's level of trust becomes an important factor that determines how often the aid will be used.

"Figuring out how trust is affected by the design of computerized aids is important because we want people to trust and use only reliable aids," said Pak.

Pak's research findings have revealed that the inclusion of an image of a person can significantly alter perceptions of a computerized aid when there is no difference in the aid's reliability or presentation of information.

"Humanlike computer aids provide a reduced decision-making reaction time for adults," said Pak. "A plausible explanation is that the increase in trust led to an increased dependence on the aid, which led to faster performance."

Pak's future research will examine the specific aspects of the aid that affect trust in different age groups and gender.

He also is studying the affects of the aids on users when faced with decisions that have either a high consequence, such as making health decisions, or a low consequence, such as deciding what type of computer to buy.

Pak's study was published Tuesday in the journal Ergonomics. The journal article was co-authored by Clemson researchers Nicole Fink, Margaux Price, Brock Bass and Lindsay Sturre.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TEDxGlasgow - David Erdal - Employee-Owners do it Better - YouTube

Treat people as servants, as most companies do, and they behave like servants, David Erdal demonstrates. They work with less than full commitment, and achieve far less than they could.

Treat them as partners, sharing information, wealth and influence -- including electing the board and the CEO -- and they perform out of their skins.

Their working lives become more productive, their companies do better, and they themselves become happier.

More about David...
David Erdal's lifelong passion to transform the ownership of business, making working life more rewarding for everyone, came from the experience of leading his family's 1,500-employee papermill into all-employee ownership.

He has helped dozens of businesses make that transformation, and advised companies in Slovenia, China, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

His book Beyond the Corporation: Humanity Working argues passionately, illuminated by examples from around the world, that employee-ownership is the way forward.

The book has been praised by economists, businessmen, journalists, academics and also by the literary editor of the Scotsman, who made it his business book of 2011 -- the only business book he'd ever finished.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Listening Difficulties: 5 Ways to make yourself heard

If you want people to listen to you:
  1. Value the person – Treat them with respect: Zig Ziglar’s famous line “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is true. Don’t expect people to listen and learn from you until they know you have their best interest at stake and that you care for them personally; not simply what they can do for you or the organization.
  2. Paint a great vision – You have to give people something worth working towards and it needs to stretch them, while still being attainable through measurable risk and hard work. When they know there’s a definite chance of success, they’ll be more willing to learn what it takes to attain it.
  3. Open up - Communicate freely and frequently – Even the best visions can fade over time. People get frustrated, bored, distracted, demotivated, etc. If you want to maintain your audience's attention, you have to keep reminding them why you are doing what you are doing and show them how far they've come already!
  4. Tell positive compelling stories – People are motivated by example. They want to know that what they are doing makes a difference. People will be more likely to seek your input if they know you are leading them to something of value and importance.
  5. Let them Share in the reward – People only feel valued when they get to celebrate equally, in the victory. If all the recognition goes to the leader, the follower feels taken advantage of and used. They will never trust you again. If you want people to keep listening then make sure you listen to them, share the credit, minimise the failures, don't point fingers, don't attach blame, and celebrate often.

Teaching Difficulties: 4 Reasons why People Don’t Want to Learn

4 reasons people may not appear to want to learn:
  1. Pride - They don’t think they need to learn anything – This is the one that frustrates us the most, and it’s the one we accuse people of the most. It’s true, arrogance is common in leadership, but it can also rear it's head amongst those who need to be led. Many leaders feel they are in a position because they are the only ones who could do the job. Everyone around them may know that’s not true, but they can’t see it. They don’t care to learn from others, because they aren’t willing to admit or see they have anything to learn. Sometimes those who still have much to learn are too proud to admit it.
  2. We don't know what we don't know - They don’t know they need to learn anything – It may sound similar, but this is a different reason. It isn’t arrogance than causes this one, but rather ignorance. We’ve all been there at times. Many times we assume that we know the answers already. It isn’t because we were not interested in learning more, it's just that we didn’t know there was more to learn and the older we get the more we realize how much we don’t know yet. Some of that comes with maturity and age. Some of it comes with experience, but, many times we don’t think we need to know anything more because we just don’t realise the shortcomings in what we believe we know.
  3. Credibility - They don’t want to learn from you – This is a hard one for leaders to accept, but it’s actually quite common. It could be a relational issue or a positional issue…it might simply be a personality clash, but for whatever reason, it keeps them from desiring to learn from you. If you are a parent of teenagers, you will know that your kids are good at learning more from others than they do from you. You can welcome appreciate the people who provide positive advice. We have all worked with leaders who are supposed to be leading us, but in fact, we knew more about a subject than they. It takes a very humble or enlightened person to learn from those you’re supposed to be leading. Allow your people to learn from whatever sources they prefer, as long as they're accurate.
  4. Learning styles -Maybe they want to learn on their own – There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as they remain approachable and open i.e. teachable. In fact, as long as your people are learning and progressing they should be encouraged in every way. Some of the best lessons in life come from simply trying something and perhaps you succeed or perhaps you come near to failure. Give people the freedom to explore their environment independent of you. Support them in their efforts and give them permission to fail and a license to succeed. It will help them, you and any organisation you are attached to, to grow and develop in ways you could not imagine.
We all are aware that you can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.

That’s why the best leaders, teachers, parents etc. spend more time motivating the learner than they do teaching them.

In the book “Switch”, authors Dan and Chip Heath call it “motivating the elephant”. If you, as a leader, desire people to learn from you, first motivate them so that they really want to learn.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Becoming An Entrepreneur

For both men and women, becoming an entrepreneur was associated with social skills and entrepreneurial intentions expressed at age 16. In addition, we found gender-specific pathways. 
For men, becoming an entrepreneur was predicted by having a self-employed father; for women, it was predicted by their parents’ socioeconomic resources. 
These findings point to conjoint influences of both social structure and individual agency in shaping occupational choice and implementation.
34-year longitudinal study of an international sample examines who becomes an entrepreneur

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PREP: Value Chain - Climate Change Resilience

Leading companies from the food and beverage, insurance, investment, technology, and energy industries have jointly released a guide to climate change resiliency planning. ‘PREP Value Chain Climate Resilience’ includes a step-by-step tool, Business ADAPT, for businesses to assess and prepare for the risks and opportunities posed by climate change.

The Business ADAPT tool provides five simple steps to help companies understand and act on the climate related risks that they face.

The steps are targeted towards company executives and senior managers, and provide detailed guidance in sectors that are considered highly vulnerable including water and energy utilities and companies in the food, beverage, agriculture and general manufacturing industries.

The five steps are:
  1. Analyze the issues - Have you started thinking about the resilience of your business in the face of climate-related impacts?
  2. Develop an internal strategy - Have you mobilized the right team to address climate resilience?
  3. Assess risks and opportunities - Have you taken steps to assess the areas where opportunities to build climate resilience or invest in emerging market opportunities exist in your business value chain?
  4. Prioritize actions - Have you taken steps to identify and assess measures to build climate resilience in your value chain?
  5. Tackle actions, and evaluate progress - How will you successfully implement actions to build climate resilience in your value chain, and evaluate and monitor the effect of your actions over time?
PREP Value Chain Climate Resilience has been written by The Partnership for Resilience and Environmental Preparedness.

PREP is a one-year pilot partnership formed to address the risks and opportunities that climate change impacts pose to businesses and the communities on which they depend.

Members include Calvert Investments, Earth Networks, Entergy, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., Levi Strauss and Co., Starbucks and Swiss Re. BSR and Ceres are also partners. Oxfam America serves as PREP's secretariat.

The firm Acclimatise served as lead authors of the report.

Read PREP Value Chain Climate Resilience.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Small businesses will benefit from an IT consultant's expertise

Running a small business often means time and budget are tight. You probably don’t want to spend hours filtering through online resources to find the best methods or solutions.

Because the first year of a new business tends to be the “make it or break it” moment, sitting down with someone who understands IT can help you avoid startup pitfalls and technical glitches that can hinder your company’s growth.

Small businesses can benefit from hiring an IT consulting firm for a number of reasons.

Buying help

When you hire an IT consultant, you can gain insight into which servers, programs and other hardware can meet your needs and your budget according to your business plans. Without spending time on IT purchasing decisions, you’ll be able to focus more on the core of your work.
  • IT consultants with experience know the best methods that will help you meet your goals.
  • IT consultants can advise you on purchasing decisions so you don’t overspend or get a product that won’t accomplish what you had in mind.
  • Better, faster and cheaper solutions with proven success will save you time and money.
  • IT service providers stay up to date on the latest in tech and understand which products are not worth the cost.
Access to a team
Hiring a single IT employee may seem to be the best idea, but hiring a consulting firm provides more support and information than one individual can.

You also won’t have to worry about benefits, salary or training that come from the employment of an in-house IT specialist.
  • You’ll have access to a team of specialists that can provide support on the latest and greatest in IT without additional training on your end.
  • When hiring an IT consulting firm, you get a flexibility that doesn’t come with an individual. On-demand support is a bonus when unplanned events occur.
  • Through a partnership with a well-established IT consultant, businesses can have the benefits of priority (and sometimes discounted) access to various technology vendors.
Increased productivity
If you hire an IT consultant, you and your employees can spend less time worrying about the office network and more time getting the job done.
  • Effectively planned and executed technology can ensure your company faces less downtime and fewer glitches.
  • Gain peace of mind knowing that whatever problems you face, you have an IT support system that can provide insight and solutions.
  • Because you won’t be the one focused on making sure everything tech at your business is running smoothly, even if a hiccup does occur, you can continue focusing on what’s most valuable: growing your business.
As a company expands, bringing in an IT team may be the best route. Or, you may want to stick with the methods you’ve been using.

Small businesses can benefit from hiring an IT consultant, but it’s truly up to you to determine if this is the route you want to take.

Slideshare: Social Media Analytics

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

An artistic concept of Alien Life

These bizarre jellyfish-like beings were dreamt up by a British scientist as an example of life 'not as we know it'.

This is what evolution might have come up with on a world such as Saturn's moon Titan, Dr Maggie Alderin-Pocock believes.

She envisages creatures that float through clouds of methane, scooping chemical nutrients into their gaping mouths.

The aliens keep themselves aloft by means of dangling onion-like buoyancy bags, and communicate with pulses of light.

Picture: Eden's Science Month/PA