A collection of epic Santa fails [video]
Many entrepreneurs think the show really gets started when their product or service officially launches. But the really smart ones know that the show starts way before that. Creating a little pre-launch buzz is a great way to get the world primed for your launch. VentureBeat offers five steps to creating pre-launch buzz, here’s one:
Launch a free side-product
If you want to reach a large enough seed audience to make a dent in your industry, you’re going to need press coverage. If your product is innovative enough, there’s a chance you’ll be able accomplish this with little more than a well-placed press release, but it’s best not to leave that up to chance. You want to be able to make the rounds and show up in sites like Mashable, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, LifeHacker, and so on.
One of the best ways to pull this off is with a free side-product. Remove the obstacle of payment, and tools have a way of going viral with minimal effort on your end.
Consider what Freckle did when they launched EveryTimeZone.com.
Freckle is a simple, paid time tracking tool. To promote it, they launched a free side-product. EveryTimeZone is a simple tool that tells you at a glance what time it is in every time zone across the globe. And to find out how that changes, you just move a slider back and forth.
The tool is anything but rocket science, but it got them press coverage in LifeHacker, CNN, The Next Web, Gigaom, and even Basecamp’s blog.
A free side-product doesn’t have to be a big, extravagant project. It just has to solve a basic problem related to your core product in a way that’s worth talking about.
The key is to put something together that’s worthy of press coverage. Audiences love free tools, and publishers love making audiences happy.
More advice for entrepreneurs.
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How many times have you said to yourself, “If only I had a bit of solder on me and a resistor or two?”
Never again with the Engineer’s Emergency Business Card, the perfect stocking stuffer for the STEM master who hates to be left in the lurch.
As maker Saar Drimer explained:
When all hope is lost, the MacGyver engineer could snap out one of the components and save the day. Recall the countless times you desperately needed a 1 KOhm resistor to fix an amplifier at a party, only to see the girl you were trying to impress slip away with an OCaml programmer? Never again with this little kit. You even have 2 cm of solder in there to make sure the connection’s electrically solid!
Consider the times when you were too drunk to recall Ohm’s Law, yet were called in to fix a spaceship’s control system. V=IR is written on the board to rescue you into awesomeness in spite of your inebriated state.
Looks like he thought of everything. Isn’t there a warning somewhere about drinking and soldering, though?
Author on Google+
Momma always told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, so you shouldn’t be surprised that Inc says the same thing. Entrepreneurs are busy people, and they need good, steady energy levels. Breakfast and an afternoon snack can help give you that sustained energy you need to get through a long day.
Breakfast. It’s been at least seven hours since your last meal, and your body needs fuel. Studies show that skipping breakfast can reduce productivity by 50 to 75 percent. Ideally, you should eat within an hour of waking up. But skip the muffins, bagels, and corn flakes. These sugary foods will cause your blood sugar to spike (and then crash), leaving you feeling tired and unfocused an hour or two later.
The perfect power breakfast for entrepreneurs is a vegetable omelet with a side of sliced tomatoes. The eggs provide protein, which can keep you energized and focused for up to five hours. Plus, they contain choline, which boosts a key neurotransmitter responsible for concentration and recall. If eggs are not your thing, check out this list of healthier alternatives to your current breakfast (flax and salmon are great for boosting brain power):
Instead of: Cold cereal
Try: Oatmeal with cinnamon, chopped almonds, fruit, and ground flax
Instead of: A plain bagel with cream cheese
Try: A multi-grain bagel with goat cheese or tofu spread and smoked salmon
Instead of: A fruit smoothie
Try: A protein smoothie with low-sugar fruit like berries as well as protein powder, flax oil, and almond milk
More ideas for healthy living.
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If a Weimaraner has a hankerin’ for a poodle, who are we to judge, yet our yearning for perfection has wrought havoc on many of man’s best friends.
Science of Dogs takes a look at what a century of breeding has done to some well-known breeds, particularly in terms of the damage that’s been done over time.
Though there are many breeders out there with the best of intentions, it appears our experiments with evolution have gone horribly awry in too many cases.
The first pictures were found in the 1915 book Breeds of the World, the second, from modern sources.
Bull Terrier (above)
It seems incredible that at one time the Bull Terrier was a handsome, athletic dog. Somewhere along its journey to a mutated skull and thick abdomen the bull terrier also picked up a number of other maladies like supernumerary teeth and compulsive tail-chasing.
The English bulldog
The English bulldog has come to symbolize all that is wrong with the dog fancy and not without good reason; they suffer from almost every possible disease. A 2004 survey by the Kennel Club found that they die at the median age of 6.25 years (n=180). There really is no such thing as a healthy bulldog. The bulldog’s monstrous proportions makes them virtually incapable of mating or birthing without medical intervention.
The Dachshund used to have functional legs and necks that made sense for their size. Backs and necks have gotten longer, chest jutted forward and legs have shrunk to such proportions that there is barely any clearance between the chest and floor. The dachschund has the highest risk of any breed for intervertebral disc disease which can result in paralysis; they are also prone to achondroplastic related pathologies, PRA and problems with their legs.
Demise of the dog.Author on Google+
Entrepreneurs and tech junkies alike are obsessed with the latest trend, the next new gadget. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the old standbys that still have an important role in a business’s day-to-day functioning. For example,
Business cards are such a part of commerce culture that it’s been mocked by shows like The Kids in the Hall. Apps like Bump are threatening to turn them electronic, but the paper card still reigns supreme whether you’re exchanging info at a conference or handing your card to a lead you find in the supermarket line.
Takeaway tip: Use business cards as you always have—to give your contact information to people who need it. Maximize the usefulness of business cards by including all your modern contact information, including email, Twitter and other social media, on the card and by collating information from other people’s cards using a contact-tracking tool.
See the rest at Open Forum.
More business advice.
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Football fans, rejoice! The official soccer ball of the 2014 World Cup has been unveiled after going through more tests than a new medication being evaluated by the FDA.
According to designboom’s Rodrigo Caula:
adidas has unveiled ‘brazuca’, the official match ball for the 2014 FIFA world cup in brazil. two-and-half-years in the making, the ‘brazuca’ has undergone extensive testing involving 600 of the world’s top players and 30 teams in 10 countries across three continents, including four-time player of the year lionel messi and italian club AC milan, making it the most tested ball ever by adidas. the technology incorporated into the bladder and carcass of ‘brazuca’ is identical to the tango 12 used in the 2012 EUFA euro cup, with its ribbon panel design and colors symbolizing the traditional multicolored wish bracelets worn in brazil. a new structural innovation provides a unique symmetry of six identical panels alongside a different surface texture which aims to enhance grip, touch, stability and aerodynamics on the pitch.
For all you production geeks out there, here’s a video showing the Brazuca as it rolls down the assembly line. You can’t rush perfection.
Full story at designboom.
Getting ready for the World Cup.Author on Google+
It’s easy to get overwhelmed as an entrepreneur, but there are seven things that you have to pencil in every single week.
Monitor your key metrics. At my company, CakeStyle, we’ve created a dashboard (lovingly dubbed “Real Talk”) so we can quickly get a snapshot of the metrics that matter most to our business and how they are trending: daily sales, margins, site traffic, orders from new clients, repeat rates of existing clients, average transaction amounts and inventory levels, for example. Watching closely allows you to detect negative trends early and intervene before they create a major issue.
Step back and look at the big picture. Don’t lose the forest for the trees. Take a moment each week to think about the strategic direction of the company. Where do you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years? What steps do you need to take to get there? Your company and industry won’t stop evolving just because you’re not watching. Set your own strategic direction or prepare to be surprised by where your business ends up.
More advice for entrepreneurs.
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“I have friends out there. It’s scary because I have no idea what Paul Ryan could be doing to them.” Incredible, but this video isn’t just for the laughs. The video was made as part of a petition to actually name storms after policy-makers who deny climate change. Take a look:
More climate change news.
Move over Yule Log, there’s a new way to waste time this holiday season.
If you thought your holiday was ruined by The Sound of Music last night, turn things around by spending some quality time with a crazy cat granny, an elf, and a whole room full of adoptable felines in sweaters courtesy of Christmas Cats TV.
Despite being a dog person, I have to admit I just spent three minutes watching one cat lick the other’s ear while an elf dangled a cat toy to no avail. Now that’s quality entertainment you don’t want to miss.
Could a cat be in your future?Author on Google+
We’ve all heard about the grueling schedule endured by graduate students, but it looks like there was a light at the end of the tunnel for members of the UCSD Neurosciences Grad Program (in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, no less).
This Daft Punk parody was part of the party invite for the department social, and we’re glad they got to shrug off those lab coats and let it all hang out.
The lighter side of science.Author on Google+
Business travel can suck up a lot more money than it needs to. If you follow these eight tips, you’ll save a ton during your next business trip. For example:
Stay an Extra Day
Instead of rushing in and out of an event, consider staying for an extra night or two. This lets you take advantage of peak flight rates and better hotel rates when you’re staying for several nights. It also enables you to have time to catch up with new contacts, local leads or colleagues.
Don’t Pay Cash to Travel
Leverage the purchasing power of your business by charging all your company’s expenses on credit cards with aggressive reward points programs. Purchase everything from materials to office supplies to vendor payments and marketing services on your credit card to rack up points. When it’s time to travel, simply trade points for airfare and hotel rooms.
See the rest at Lifehack.
More ways to hack your life.
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