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Saturday, February 28, 2009

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 1

WHAT IS A VISION?

There is a lot of talk about creating and maintaining a vision, especially as part of a CEO's job. In my opinion, 'vision' is a term that is both greatly overused as well as largely misunderstood. Many people consider vision to be an all-encompassing view of the product or service, while others expand it's meaning to include the entire market and still others believe the term encompasses far more.

Having been personally accountable for a corporation's vision for many years, I believe it encompasses more than what most people think. So, what follows is my definition of vision, and I do not understate the case when I say that, with few exceptions, the lack of a strong vision puts you at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

To begin with, I believe a vision must encompass everything about the business. This includes everything from things as high-level and broad as the organizational chart, right down to details like basic product functionality. It also includes both the strategic and tactical levels of every discipline required to run the business. A vision must include both these levels for every function vis-à-vis, finance, sales, marketing, operations, and product development. Each variable must be imagined over time as a series, because many will change rapidly. Does this sound like a mind-blowing exercise? Yes, it does! Thankfully, since our brains are wired to think visually, and are the most powerful computers on earth, this task is well within most people's intellectual capacity if they have the experience and information. The biggest issue is that most people don't have all the needed information or expertise to understand and design these business models. This is real work, not magic, luck, or the flash of insight that may have been the genesis of a product's unique abilities. As Thomas Edison says "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." The exercise of writing a business plan generally fills in much of the vision and is worth the effort even if you throw the plan in the trash when you are done. It can allow the merger of different skill-sets to happen. However, this is not the same as having the experience in one's head, which forces greater discipline and integration and allows the Model to be "run" in the visionary's head.

Why, you ask, must a vision be so elaborate? Because, the purpose of a vision is to have something complete, and against which, you can hold up all major business decisions. It is almost a philosophy for the company to live by. This helps ensure consistency across departmental goals and helps eliminate other major factors that can split a business into fractional pieces, such as two departments going after different objectives, and effectively dividing your resources across these objectives, or even markets.

For the next lesson we'll be going over the vision pie and how to understand its different slices...

Best Regards,
Viktor Stephen

Related Articles:

How to Develop Your Vision - Part 2

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Grapes "wonder cure" for Heart disease

An extract made from components of red grapes that are regularly discarded by vineyards may dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease, above and beyond the well-known health benefits of red wine, researchers have found.

In a study published in the journal Nutrition, researchers from Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, produced an extract called Grape Antioxidant Dietary Fiber (GADF) from the seeds and skin of red grapes. For 16 weeks, they added the GADF extract to the meals of 34 non-smoking adults.

By the end of the study, the blood pressure of participants who had taken the GADF extract had gone down by as much as 5 percent, while their total cholesterol levels had decreased by up to 14 percent. Levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol had also decreased significantly. The GADF extract also appeared to improve participants' lipid profile, which is a measure of heart disease risk based on a variety of cardiovascular tests.

Among the 13 participants with high cholesterol, the cholesterol reductions were even more striking. High cholesterol patients who took GADF extract experienced a 14.2 pc reduction in total cholesterol and an 11.6 pc decrease in LDL levels.

These cardiovascular benefits were not seen in nine control participants, whose diet was not supplemented with GADF extract.

"GADF showed significant reducing effects in lipid profile and blood pressure," researcher Jara Perez Jimenez said. "The effects appear to be higher than the ones caused by other dietary fibers, such as oat fiber or psyllium, probably due to the combined effect of dietary fiber and antioxidants."

Most heart health supplements are high in either antioxidants or fiber, both of which are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. GADF extract, however, contains high levels of both. A single 7.5 gram supplement taken daily, Perez Jimenez said, could increase the average dietary fiber intake of the Western diet 5 to 10 grams over its current average of 20 grams per day.

"Further research on the relative contributions of fibers and flavonoids to prevent cardiovascular disease is needed," Perez Jimenez said.

Red grapes have long been praised as a heart superfood, largely due to their high content of the antioxidant chemical resveratrol. Studies have linked resveratrol to increased life span, decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, and reductions in levels of inflammation and blood sugar. However, resveratrol alone has never been enough to explain the health benefits of diets that include significant quantities of red wine, such as the Mediterranean diet.

The so-called Mediterranean diet is high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables and fish, and monounsaturated fats. It contains low to moderate levels of alcohol - particularly red wine - and low levels of red meat, poultry, dairy products and saturated fat. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly eat a Mediterranean diet tend to live longer and have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who eat a Western diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in meat, dairy and saturated fat.

The researchers in the Nutrition study have claimed that a GADF supplement could be successfully used to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels in heart patients. In those who already eat a Mediterranean diet, they said, it could reduce the risk of heart attacks a further 50 percent.

India will account for 60% of heart disease cases worldwide within two years, according to new research.

Heart disease kills 7.1 million people globally each year.

It has been long known that South Asia has the highest level of acute coronary syndromes in the world, but this is the first comprehensive research which provides statistical data about heart disease.

As the Indian economy grows, there is a possibility of further increases in cardiovascular disease before we see a decline similar to that being witnessed in developed countries.

The risk factors in India were the same as elsewhere and included tobacco use, high levels of lipids in the blood due to diets rich in saturated fat, and hypertension, the study said.

But, it noted, there were causes specific to India - the most important being the time taken to get access to medical help.

On average, it took 300 minutes to reach a hospital in India, twice as long in rich nations. "Few patients used an ambulance to reach the hospital. Most used private or public transport" due to financial constraints, the report says.

Poverty also prevents most Indians from obtaining routine treatments including surgical procedures because most of them have to pay for it themselves.

The study also found that many of the Indian patients were younger by three to six years than those in richer nations.

The major causes of cardiovascular disease are insufficient exercise and poor diet, but factors such as air pollution or tobacco smoke can also play a role.

Related Articles:

The Procyanidins of Red Wine and Their Anti-Aging Effect

Monday, February 23, 2009

Change The Way You See Work and Change Your Life

Did you ever think there was a better, different way to live? Did you ever think, “Maybe I don’t have to go to a job and work 40+ hours a week, feel drained, wish for more time for yourself or your family, and wonder when the frolic begins?” If so, get ready: your life’s about to change.

When I was a pubescent boy, I woke up every morning with the sun. I opened my eyes, heard birds chirping outside my window, and smiled, thinking about the adventures of the coming day. Fast forward to my last corporate job, when I woke up with the alarm clock, slammed my hand down on the snooze button and laid in bed, a feeling of angst in my stomach, thinking about the eight hours I was about to spend working under fluorescent lights, in a small cubicle, so my boss could take credit for my work and someone else could profit.

Why do we do this to ourselves? When I look back on the time I spent in India Inc., I realize that I didn’t know any better. Despite the entrepreneurial spirit I’ve felt through my entire life, there was a period of time when it simply didn’t occur to me that my life belonged to me and I didn’t have to live according to the narrow path that had been defined for me.

It took carpal tunnel syndrome and an obdurate corporate environment for me to realize that I desperately needed a change. And that’s what it took to remind me of the philosophy my dad taught me as a young boy, something I’d long forgotten: that work is what makes the rest of your life possible.

From this perspective, “work” takes on substantially less meaning, while “life” takes center stage. I like this because it reminds me where my priorities lie. I’d much rather my tombstone read, “He truly lived,” than “He worked a lot.”

It’s easy to say “work makes the rest of my life possible,” but how does it look in real life, and how do you put this into play in your own life?

How it looks in real life:

I wake up each morning, knowing that the day belongs to me. I have a schedule, but I’m not beholden to a boss or supervisor who will dock my pay or fire me if I decide the schedule doesn’t suit my mood that day. One of my priorities is my health and physical well-being, so most mornings I start my day off with a workout at the gym. Since my day is my own, I can work out without rushing, and that allows me to get to know the other members of my gym, which means it’s a social event as well.

Then, depending on the day and what I’ve committed to, I may work with clients, do some writing for my blog, or read one of the several books I’m into at any given moment. Aside from scheduled meetings with clients and deadlines, I do what suits my mood the best - if I’m struggling for inspiration for my articles, I spend more time reading. If I’m in the mood to go to the movies, I do. And I’ve structured my businesses so that if I want to get on a plane and fly to South America, England, or New Orleans for a weekend or a month, I can do it without a second thought and my income doesn’t change a bit.

The point is, no day is completely consumed by work, it’s all flexible, and everything I do for “work” is something that I enjoy doing. If I don’t enjoy it, I either don’t do it or I find someone who does and I outsource that work to them.

When I speak to groups, I’m often asked, “How many hours a week do you work?” Sure, just like Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek (a great book to read if you want to get another, similar perspective on this philosophy), some weeks I only work four hours. But if I’m working on a book or one of my one-on-one clients is launching his/her business, I work at least forty. Those are the extremes: most weeks I stay somewhere in the twenty to twenty five hour range. But I can tell you this: I wake up with the sun and the birds chirping, just like I did when I was a boy. I always wake up smiling, and I love what I do.

But I’m not that different from you. I’m not overly lucky and nothing that special has happened that made this possible for me. Virtually anyone can do this.

So how can you incorporate this into your own life?

The ethos comes first. You have to take responsibility for your life and know that it is yours to live in whatever way that you want. Think this is easy? It’s not. This can be one of the scariest things you’ll ever do. But as Seth Godin recently wrote, “the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.” So take a risk and believe that your life belongs to you.

Second, figure out your priorities and your goals. What’s most important to you? Are there things you want to do, places you want to see? Maybe you just want more quality time with your family, or want more time to relax- that’s okay. The point is to figure out what’s most important to you.

Third, design a business to suit your lifestyle goals. This is the most challenging aspect of applying this philosophy, because it requires some extra knowledge- what opportunities are out there, how to repurpose what you already know and/or do, how to brand yourself and market your business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution- a business model that works for one person may not be suited to another. Your best bet, the easiest and fastest way to accomplish this, is to work with someone who has successfully made the transition themselves, who knows the opportunities out there, can help you figure out what suits you best, help you put it all together and show you the ropes.

Finally, be prepared to work to get to the point of living the dream. I’m not going to lie to you. It rarely happens overnight. Some of my clients have transitioned into this lifestyle (what I call the “Business in Blue Jeans lifestyle”) within a month or two, while others have taken a bit longer. Some of it depends on the industry you’re in and some depends on what you’re willing to put into it and how focused you are. Because the fact is, even though you aren’t working as much or as hard as before, in this lifestyle, when you are working, you need to be really focused.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that when you’re working for a life that you’ve designed, when you love what you’re doing and when you know that you aren’t just putting in the time, everything changes. Change the way you view work, and you’ll completely change your life.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Local Business Profit from Local Search

Why do I want to Advertise on the Internet?

I often get business owners asking, “Why should I have my business on the Internet?” There are many reasons but the most important reason is your bottom line. Compared to the cost of Phone Book Advertising, Magazine, TV or Radio Advertising against the cost of having a website. The Return on Investment is mush higher with a website and Internet Advertising.

More and more people are turning to the Internet to find services instead of having bulky phone books. According to JuxtConsult Stats 30.32 million of all Indian citizens use the Internet. JuxtConsult conducted a survey of online users - 33% of Internet users make purchases online. If 67% of your online customers are using the Internet to get information and make purchasing decisions, and 33% are actually making purchases, then you need to be represented on the Internet.

Companies that do well with local search results are service based industries. With people moving into metro areas they need to find new service providers and are turning to the Internet to find and compare services that are available in their new location.

Two Types of Internet Advertising

The first type is paid advertising through a company like Google. Google’s paid advertising is called AdWords and is known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. The concept is simple - you define your best keywords (through keyword research) then bid on the keyword phrase. When someone types in your chosen keyword phrase then your website will come up in the listings for that customer to click on and go to your site. The cost of this type of advertising is industry specific meaning that is varies by industry. Keywords can sell for pennies or well over $50.00 per click. For business targeting the local market it is possible to take a costly keyword like “Web Design” and put a city or area behind it and get a much better price on the keyword.

The second type of Internet advertising is called Organic placement - these are the sites that are listed in the main area of the search results page. The goal is to get placed in the top half of the first page. There are many variables that come into play for the search engine to decide who gets prime placement. It is all based upon relevancy of the phrase typed in by the searcher to the websites listed. Some factors are:

* Keywords in the title of the website
* Keywords in header tags
* Keywords listed in the text of the page
* Keywords in the URL
* Keywords bolded or emphasized on the page
* The Keywords in the text of inbound links
* How many inbound links
* The PageRank of sites that are linking to your site

That is a short list of considerations made by the search algorithms - but all of those items are in control of the owner of the website. They should all be taken into consideration when optimizing your site for organic placement in the search engines. This is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

28 Indian Innovations

28 India Innovations - From Cell Phone PSAs to Sari Couture (CLUSTER)

(TREND HUNTER) India doesn’t always get the same credit for influencing pop culture as other global powerhouses like France, Italy, the UK, Canada, and the US. Innovators in India have embraced technology and channeled… [More]

10 Ways Microsoft's Retail Stores Will Differ From Apple Stores

1) Unlike Apple's sheer walls of glass, Microsoft's stores will have brushed steel walls speckled with holes -- reminiscent of Windows security.

2) The store will have six different entrances: Starter, Basic, Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. While all six doors will lead into the same store, the Ultimate door requires a fee of $100 for no apparent reason.

3) Instead of a "Genius Bar" (as Apple provides) Microsoft will offer an Excuse Bar. It will be staffed by Microsofties trained in the art of evading questions, directing you to complicated and obscure fixes, and explaining it's a problem with the hardware -- not a software bug.

4) The Windows Genuine Advantage team will run storefront security, assuming everybody is a thief until they can prove otherwise.

5) Store hours are undetermined. At any given time the store mysteriously closes down instantaneously for no apparent reason. (No word yet on what happens to customers inside).

6) Stores will be named Microsoft Live Retail Store with PC Services for Digital Lifestyle Enthusiasts.

7) Fashioned after Microsoft's User Account Control (UAC) in Vista, sales personnel will ask you whether you're positive you want to purchase something at least twice.

8) Xbox 360 section of the store will be organized in a ring -- which will inexplicably go red occasionally.

9) DreamWorks will design a spooky in-store theme park ride called "blue screen of death."

10) Store emergency exits will be unlocked at all times so people can get in anytime they want even if the front doors are locked.


Should Microsoft Stores Worry Apple?

On Monday, David Porter starts at Microsoft as corporate vice president of retail. He comes to Microsoft following a two-year stint with DreamWorks Animation and a quarter-century at Wal-Mart. His first responsibility: Planning Microsoft stores.

I've long advocated that Microsoft should open retail stores. Apple's success isn't the reason. Microsoft has serious marketing problems that Apple is just now starting to encounter: Product complexity that complicates marketing. Succinctly, Microsoft problems are:

* Product benefits tend to multiply, which makes the selling harder. Microsoft widget A is pretty good but better with widget B and also C. Microsoft calls this concept "better together," but it's worse from a marketing perspective. Apple's hardship is less, because popular products such as iPod and iTunes started out doing one thing well and expanded features over time; customers are familiar with the basics. New capabilities tend to be related and consolidated.

* Retailers could better promote Microsoft product benefits, but often don't. They typically still push hardware and software specs and features over benefits. Apple has similar problems outside its own stores.

* No one sells a Microsoft lifestyle. Most successful brands promote a lifestyle related to their products. Apple, Harley-Davidson, Nokia and Pepsi are all lifestyle brands. Among Pepsi products, Mountain Dew is perhaps best example of lifestyle marketing. The official Web site, with the now shortened Mtn Dew, shows the lifestyle approach. Apple Stores promote a Mac lifestyle. Microsoft has got none.

These are the reasons Microsoft should open retail stores, but company executives might have other ones. If the primary one is Apple, I predict the stores are doomed before they open. Chasing Apple is the wrong reason to go into retail.

Budget? Hip? Practical?
There are tweets aplenty about Microsoft's retail plans, today. Jim Hong appropriately questioned: "What kind of brand image are they going for? Boutique or Budget? Hip or Practical?"

Microsoft could go a number of different ways with the stores:

* The Wal-Mart approach would emphasize value: Microsoft software and OEM partner hardware pack in lots of features for low cost. Value marketing would emphasize the so-called "Apple Tax"—the price premium Microsoft claims people pay for Macs over PCs. Apple wouldn't want these kinds of retail shops in the same malls as its stores.

* Hip would emphasize gaming and entertainment. That means Xbox 360 and all the cool ways to customize the game consoles with third-party gears. Yes, Zune would have its place in the stores and Windows Mobile phones, too. Two themes would emerge: Having fun and being social using Microsoft software and services or supporting third-party products.

* The practical approach would cater to small businesses—how they can get more done for less by going Microsoft. But there would be a practical aspect relating to lifestyle, too. Increasingly there are simultaneously convergent and divergent personal and professional lifestyles. The same products are often used at work or school and home.

Jim's questions are appropriate, because the answers should be "yes" to them all. Microsoft should open one kind of store that is budget-oriented, hip and practical. Microsoft would be smart to quadrant the stores, but not the same as Apple does. Apple stores used to be sectioned by lifestyle function, such as photos and video. Today, the stores are more-often divided up around products. Microsoft should be bolder, with quadrants embracing different digital lifestyles.

Build the Right Store
I would design a Microsoft store around a central hub that is brimming with motion and excitement. Flashing screens would show different hip aspects of the Microsoft lifestyle and how different products can work well together. Along the periphery would be lifestyle quadrants. Some suggestions: Business, gaming, mobile, music, school and teens.

Teens should be a top marketing priority for Microsoft because:

* Apple and Google are doing well courting the teen segment to their products.

* Analysts say that today's teens don't have brand allegiance, which is wrong. There's a pack mentality; teen allegiance follows brands used by friends. If they all buy Microsoft, they all buy Microsoft. Or Apple.

* Even in a weak economy, teens will have lots of disposable income to spend.

Where Microsoft should imitate Apple: Sideline or even ditch altogether the cashier section. Apple's handheld point-of-sale device approach is simply brilliant. Microsoft should do the same. After all, those handhelds used in Apple Stores run Windows Mobile/CE.

The Nokia-Sony Hybrid
The best model for a Microsoft store isn't Apple, but a Nokia-Sony hybrid. Nokia and Sony share similar marketing and channel problems with Microsoft:

* They offer a wide variety of products.

* Their products are sold through many other retailers (e.g., channel conflict).

* The stores sell different digital lifestyles.

Sony says it all with the name: SonyStyle Store. Lifestyle is the point, and like Microsoft Sony sells many products that presumably get better when used together. Sony recently started putting BackStage booths in the stores. Like Apple's Genius Bar they provide technical assistance. Sony also promotes BackStage from the SonyStyle Web site. Microsoft stores should offer similar support and training services as Apple and Sony, with emphasis on promoting the Microsoft lifestyle.

Nokia operates two flagship stores in the United States compared to about 60 Sony locations (including outlets). Americans are deprived of Nokia marketing, since the cell phones sell more in Asia, Africa and Europe than here. Among technology companies, Nokia is the gold standard for lifestyle marketing, much better than even Apple.

My suggested Microsoft store design is for the purpose of emphasizing lifestyle. Microsoft may want something more concrete for people to identify with, which could even be "I'm a PC."

Microsoft should not just sell its technologies but use them in a hip, lifestyle-marketing way. There should be Surface tables, Touch Wall, Windows 7 multitouch screens, digicam demonstrations using Photsynth and learning area with WorldWide Telescope. Why not some Songsmith Karaoke?

Timing Is Perfect
I've read some commentary over the last 24 hours suggesting that Microsoft has got lousy timing. They contend that it's lunacy to be launching new retail stores when so many retailers are going bankrupt. That's butt thinking. Stop sitting on your brain! The recession makes 2009 a very good year to launch a new retail chain. Some reasons:

* Microsoft's retail channel is shrinking. Circuit City won't be the last electronics dealer to go belly up this year, or next.

* Retail real estate is going to be cheap. Mall managers are freaking out about all these stores closing. Microsoft would be a great multiyear tenant. Malls will get commitment, but perhaps not price. They're hurting for stores, and Microsoft will know it. No company negotiates good deals like Microsoft. Terms will favor Microsoft.

* Microsoft has the cash to invest in retail. If the stores are done well and located in high-trafficked malls, they'll pay for themselves in marketing.

Microsoft will succeed or fail based on vision. If the model is Wal-Mart, which is David's retail background, Microsoft shouldn't bother. If the vision is Microsoft's fake store, showcased in early January, again, there's no reason to bother. Staid Microsoft must be bold and do for retail what Apple did: Make competitors look oh-so last century. If not, Apple shouldn't worry much about Microsoft stores.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Vision of Students Today


video

A short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.

Arrogant MBAs, Is an MBA Worth It, Jobs in the Down Economy

As you might imagine, I have lots to say about what MBAs can do in this new economy, whether the MBA degree helps, and who are these people who think they walk on water because they have the degree?

MBAs in the New and Improved Economy
Yes, that’s right — I believe that the economic situation now is better than before. The past few years were not based in reality – they were driven by greed and ignorance. Everyone was driving overpriced cars and living in oversized houses, blissed out and ignoring the fact that they could not afford any of it. Now, the truth is out. Things might get worse before they get better (I am not an economist, but I believe they will get worse, with or without a stimulus plan), but they will eventually get better. And hopefully, there will be lessons that everyone, MBAs and non-MBAs, can carry with them. The MBAs who studied strictly in classrooms will now earn some battle scars, practical knowledge, and a dose of reality.

What can MBA grads do if they’ve been laid off, their business is dissolving, or their fat bonus checks have disappeared? They can certainly try to get another job, because there are still jobs out there. However, landing them requires a bit more creativity. The jobs might not be sourced through career management centers; networking, soul searching and unusual tactics will be important. As I repeatedly say, hard times breed creativity, and that is what I find exciting about our current situation. MBAs — who are connected to each other and to potential investors and who know the basics of how to run a business — are in a fantastic position to pursue something new or to start something from the ground up. So, I would suggest adding another research area to the feature package’s list of finance, healthcare, social entrepreneurship and energy: brainstorming. There are ways to rebound, and I think many people will end up doing something more aligned with their interests because they are no longer just picking from whatever companies happen to be recruiting on campus.

Does the MBA Help?
I strongly think it does matter. However, many people mistakenly think that an MBA is the golden ticket to whatever they want afterwards — especially those who are going to a top school. They think, “If I can get X University on my resume, I’m set for life!” As with everything we pursue, from careers to relationships, there is no such thing as “set.” Your success and fulfillment in the business world are dependent on what you do with the degree. To the person who complains that after the MBA he/she is still in a dead-end job, I would say that is not your business school’s fault. It’s your job to take your credentials, your network, and the knowledge you gained during your MBA program and go out and make the most of it. I cannot believe that knowledge, networks and alumni resources hurt someone’s situation.

In fact, in these difficult times, a lot of schools are going the extra mile to help their alums. Just yesterday, a colleague received an alumni email from Kellogg, offering a free “turbo job-search” workshop. This is in addition to free career counseling for life. If you’re looking for a new job, or a better job, this is absolutely the time to leverage your MBA network. Contact classmates and alumni networks, set up informational interviews, and get moving. I laugh when I read comments about the MBA opening or not opening up doors. The degree does not open up doors – the person does. But an MBA can increase your muscle.

Are MBAs Arrogant Jerks?
Yes, some of them are. So are some chefs and athletes and rock stars. It is incredibly difficult to get admitted to a top business school, especially one in the top 10. Those that make it through are generally quite accomplished, have achieved a lot, and are pretty darn smart. Does this give them a right to be arrogant? No, but it does put a stamp on them that, like it or not, recruiters are often attracted to. It’s ridiculous to say that all MBAs are a certain way and that, as a group, they are not as qualified to take on certain jobs. Top MBA grads, as a whole, are a very strong group of individuals. It’s easier for a potential employer to take a bet on a grad from a top school, their pedigree, and the promise it holds. If a by-product of their accomplishments is arrogance, I dare say in these most challenging of times, employers might prefer that over a nice person who cannot help them solve their problems.

Related Post:

To Get an MBA or Not?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Philosophy of Sex

"I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy."
—Tom Clancy

"You know "that look" women get when they want sex? Me neither."
—Steve Martin

"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand."
—Woody Allen

"Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant."
—George Burns

"Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships."
—Sharon Stone

"My girlfriend always laughs during sex—-no matter what she’s reading."
—Steve Jobs (Founder, Apple Computers)

"Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is."
—Barbara Bush (Former US First Lady — and you didn’t think Barbara had a sense of humor)

"Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet."
—Robin Williams

"Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself."
—Roseanne

"Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place."
—Billy Crystal

"According to a new survey, women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are too judgmental, where, of course, men are just grateful."
—Robert De Niro

"There’s a new medical crisis. Doctors are reporting that many men are having allergic reactions to latex condoms. They say they cause severe swelling. So what’s the problem?"
—Dustin Hoffman

"There’s very little advice in men’s magazines, because men think, I know what I’m doing. Just show me somebody naked."
—Jerry Seinfeld

"Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house."
—Rod Stewart

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gaming and the Future Workplace

It has been my long-held belief that the "gaming idiom" will increasingly find its way into workplace social computing applications. I suspect that this is reasonably closely related to what Stowe Boyd terms flow as it relates to Enterprise 2.0 dynamics and the applications that will be used to work "in flow".

With a substantial $3 million in funding, University of California, Irvine plans to study "how emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace."

Although virtual worlds technology may have initially been created for games, they have far exceeded that use. virtual worlds seem to be the next communications medium that will transform how we do business and live our lives. Consider that virtual worlds allow us to be "present" with each other in the same "place" unlike any technology yet developed. It creates immersive shared experiences spontaneously, and without travel.

Virtual world environments and other technology-enabled forms of communication are gaining popularity as organizations worldwide are decentralizing. To grow and promote efficiency, companies need to develop long-distance, collaborative communication methods. The researchers plan to help in that arena, using innovations such as large-scale multiplayer online games, social networking, and file and media sharing.

To gain real-world perspective, UCI researchers are collaborating with five organizations from aerospace, telecommunications, transportation and electronics industries as well as the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. The companies already are experimenting with the technologies in group planning, decision-making and training.

Virtual worlds are better because they create immersive experiences for people to share as if they were together in person. Nothing else achieves the feeling of togetherness that virtual worlds do. Teleconference, although an improvement over the telephone, is not immersive. Nor does it deliver a unique and memorable experience. Telepresence is much better, but it is largely immobile and very expensive. Virtual worlds can be accessed from a desktop, inexpensively. They are highly flexible and allow for redesign and redevelopment. Tomorrow your virtual conference room could be a medieval castle, if you so desire. Interactions within virtual worlds feel real, are highly memorable, and transform relationships. Additionally, other media such as video and audio can be fed into virtual worlds to enhance the experience.

It is easy for companies to enact policies prohibiting the use of these technologies. But then they would be "throwing out the baby with the bathwater." Virtual worlds and other Web 2.0 technologies, like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, can be tremendously powerful and effective business tools.

iSkoot’s Kalaida Platform Makes Your Plain Phone Smarter

From Techcrunch.com :

iSkoot, the startup that specializes in creating software for the billions of mobile phones that aren’t smartphones, has released its new Kalaida Platform, allowing users to access their social networks, RSS feeds, and Email from their basic cell phones.

The platform includes support for Facebook, Email, instant messaging, and RSS news services, and international carriers can add or remove services to suit their regions. Kalaida Platform is a big step for the company, which was previously best known for its mobile Skype client. The platform stems from iSkoot’s acquision of Social.im last September.

iSkoot’s Kalaida Platform works with most phones, but it still requires a dataplan - something that many users with basic phones don’t have (at least in the United States). The carriers will love this, as it will drive some users to spring for their unlimited data packages, but iSkoot will still have to fend off competitors, who include Mig33 and Trutap.

Microsoft goes retail with own shops

Microsoft is following Apple's lead by opening its own retail stores.

The software giant has named David Porter as corporate vice president of retail stores, whose first order of business will be to define locations, time frames, and specifics for a series of Microsoft-branded retail stores. Porter was head of worldwide product distribution for DreamWorks Animation SKG and starts work at Microsoft next Monday.

This is a major departure for Microsoft, which has relied on high-street retailers to pump out PCs, Windows, Zunes, and copies of Office to consumers. But in recent months, Microsoft has seen the lights go out on one high-street retailer after another.

Apple, meanwhile, has peppered the globe with flagship stores that sell Macs, iPods, software, and provide customers with decent support.

The retail campaign comes as Microsoft has attempted to re-establish its link with consumers with the coming Windows 7, in the wake of disappointing Windows Vista sales and Apple's satirical TV campaign.

While potentially justified, the timing will be questioned. Setting up a retail operation is expensive and the plan comes at a time when Microsoft is trying to cut costs. The high street, meanwhile, is suffering as consumers cut spending to ride out the recession.

Microsoft said Porter's role would be to "create deeper engagement" with consumers. It added Porter would complement the work Microsoft's already doing with existing retail partners.

If anyone's wondering why Microsoft picked Porter, you have only to look past his brief, two-year stint at DreamWorks. He spent 25 years at Wal-Mart, which is also the former employer of Microsoft's chief operating officer Kevin Turner - to whom Porter will report. Turner was at Wal-Mart for 20 years.

Porter spanned various departments at Wal-Mart, including in-store operations, merchandising, and information technology before landing as vice president, and general merchandise manager of entertainment. In that last job, Microsoft said, he served as a "strategic point of influence throughout the Wal-Mart business."

Wal-Mart is known for its antiseptic, big-box, out-of-town operations. But it remains to be seen whether Porter will bring this culture to Microsoft as it attempts to compete with the smaller, uber-hip, and urban Apple stores.

The appointment emerged as details began to appear on the kinds of upgrade paths it wants OEMS to offers from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Microsoft tracker TechARP claims to have seen details of the proposed Windows 7 Upgrade Program, which was circulated to partners in December. OEMs were given a month to provide Microsoft feedback on the program.

The program targets consumer PC buyers, according to TechARP, and is designed to assist OEM partners in "minimizing the number of end users who may postpone acquiring a new computer because of the impending release of the Windows 7 operating system."

The program lets OEMs offer an upgrade to Windows 7 to end users who qualify.

Those qualifying must have a PC with an "eligible" version of Windows Vista, along with a valid Certificate of Authenticity (COA).

What counts as an eligible version of Windows Vista? Windows Vista Home Premium for upgrades to Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows Vista Business for upgrades to Windows 7 Professional, and Windows Vista Ultimate for upgrades to Winds 7 Ultimate.

Those not eligible are the sub-par Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter Edition, and all versions of Windows XP.

OEMs would not be constrained to join the program, according to TechARP.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Computer Repair Utility Kit You Can Run From a Thumb Drive

Technibble, the Australian site for aspiring computer techies, recently released the second version of its popular Computer Repair Utility Kit, a collection of 57 hand picked tools to help you diagnose and repair your Windows machine.

While all of the utilities are freely available online, this all-in-one kit saves you the trouble of searching for and downloading them individually. Most of the applications don't require installation and the kit can be run directly from your thumb drive (eg. USB Flash Drive, External Hard Drive, IPod etc.) and comes with an easy to use, right-click menu. A must in any computer technicians kit.

The Computer Repair Utility Kit contains with the following applications:

File Management

  • CCleaner - Cleans up Windows systems. Clears temporary internet files, cookies, history etc..
  • JkDefragGUI - An advanced defragging tool far superior to the built in Windows one
  • DriveimageXML - Hard drive imaging tool. Allows you to get a single file out of a whole image too
  • Explore2fs - Allows you to explore hard drives with Linux file systems
  • Double Killer - Finds duplicate files and deletes them
  • Deep Burner - CD/DVD Burning software
  • 7-Zip Portable - Archive creating and extraction tool. Can handle most compression formats
  • PC-Decrapifier - Cleans out the crap that comes installed on new brand name computers (Norton trials, toolbars etc.)

Information

  • Process Explorer - Allows you to view system processes
  • System Information - View lots of information about a system (specs, passwords, temperatures etc.)
  • ProduKey - View software cdkeys and serials
  • Autoruns - Autostart program viewer
  • HWMonitor - View hardware information
  • GPU-Z - Show video card information (chipset, bios version, shaders, memory size etc.)
  • Wireless Key View - Shows saved wireless network keys
  • TreeSize Free - Show how much space each folder on a system uses
  • Game Key Revealer - View CDKeys and Serials for popular games
  • USBDView - Allows you to list and manage USB devices (including devices that arent currently plugged in)
  • TrID - Identifies file types for extension-less files
  • Codec Installer - Finds and analyzes video codecs
  • Unknown Devices - Tells you what a “Unknown Device” in system properties actually is
  • GSpot - Video analyizer

Repair Tools

  • Norton Removal Tool - Removes Symantec products
  • McAfee Removal Tool - Removes McAfee products
  • LSPFix - Fixes broken Winsock entries
  • Dial-a-Fix - Repair Windows files and registries

Recovery

  • Recuva - Recovers deleted files
  • Restoration - Recovers deleted files
  • Photorec - Recover deleted/damaged files from Flash memory (like digital cameras)
  • DBXTract - Recover emails from damaged DBX files (like Outlook Express)

Network Tools

  • Wireshark - View network packets
  • Network Scanner - Scans the network for devices
  • Putty - SSH/Telnet/RLogin client
  • Network Stumbler - Wireless Network Scanner

Virus and Malware Removal Tools

  • Clamwin Antivirus - Virus scanner/remover
  • Rootkit Revealer - Detects rootkits on a system
  • Combofix - Malware finder and remover
  • SmitFraudFix - Malware finder and remover
  • RogueFix - Malware finder and remover
  • Hijack This! - Malware remover
  • SUPERAntiSpyware - Malware scanner and remover
  • Malwarebytes - Malware scanner and remover

Misc

  • Mozilla Firefox - Web browser
  • JavaRa - Find and remove old Java versions
  • Monitor Tester - Test monitors from problems
  • Dead Pixel Tester - Finds and fixes dead pixels on LCDs
  • ChkFlsh - Check flash drives for errors or test their real size (as fake ones appear on eBay)
  • Double Driver - Driver backup tool
  • SumatraPDF - Lightweight PDF viewer
  • Revo Uninstaller - Advanced application uninstaller

Tweaks

  • TweakUI - Windows XP tweaking tool
  • VistaTweaker - Vista tweaking tool

Scripts

  • Quickly Make a System Restore Point - Makes restore point
  • Reset Network - Releases/Renews IP and flushes DNS
  • Clear Printer Spooler - Clears stuck print jobs from spooler
  • Stop Automatic Updates - Stops “Windows has installed updates, restart now” dialog temporarily
  • Start Automatic Updates - Switches it back on

To start the toolkit. Extract the zip file to your portable media and run “Launcher.exe”. You can also add your own utilities to the menu by going to File > and make it so it autoruns when you insert your portable media into the system.

Download:
Mirror 1: Computer-Repair-Utility-Kit-V2.zip - 88.4mb @ Sharebee.com (multiple locations like Rapidshare, Megaupload etc.). Thanks to Ron for uploading.
Mirror 2: Computer-Repair-Utility-Kit-V2.zip - 88.4mb @ Generously hosted at JasonRoss.name
Mirror 3: Computer-Repair-Utility-Kit-V2.zip - 88.4mb @ Generously hosted at AlibabaComputech.com
Mirror 4: Computer-Repair-Utility-Kit-V2.zip - 88.4mb @ Generously hosted at KCCSOnline.com
Mirror 5: Computer-Repair-Utility-Kit-V2.zip - 88.4mb @ Generously hosted at ChatNFiles.com

MD5: bb1dd33daf2a721fb0688d6022dd0600




Scientists warn of first ever case of human mad cow disease from blood plasma

From Telegraph.co.uk

The man was one of thousands of haemophiliacs who received blood plasma transfusions in the years before strict controls were brought in to eliminate the spread of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).

Until now, scientists had maintained that the 4,000 people who may have received plasma from infected donors were at very low risk of developing the fatal brain disease. Warnings were issued to them as a "highly precautionary measure".

But the Health Protection Agency is expected to announce on Tuesday that an elderly man, who died from other causes, contracted vCJD from plasma.

Although vCJD has been transmitted by blood donations in the past, leading to three deaths, no cases of infection had ever been linked to plasma, which is used to clot blood. Scientists had believed the processing and dilution of the product before it is injected into patients significantly reduced the risks.

BSE expert Professor Hugh Pennington, Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University said the findings would have "significant implications" for thousands of people who had been given plasma before the dangers were suspected.

"This looks like pretty grim news for a group of people who have been through fire and water for so long; they have already had increased exposure to hepatitis B and HIV," he said.

Warnings were sent to 4,000 haemophiliacs, and patients suffering from other rare blood conditions in 2004 to warn them that they had had received transfusions from 200 batches of blood products at risk of contamination with vCJD. The plasma was collected from nine people who went on to develop the brain-wasting disease.

All 4,000 were advised not to give blood or donate organs and to warn doctors and dentists that they had been put at risk by the use of plasma.

To date, 164 people have died from vCJD in Britain, with most cases linked to eating meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Prof Pennington said details of the way the new link had been detected would be crucial in determining further investigations.

"There is a lot more we still need to know. The fact that this person is elderly, when most of the deaths from vCJD have been young people, and that they died from another cause, is another area for research," he said, suggesting that it might mean that the disease progressed more slowly in some people.

He said restrictions over blood donation, which mean anyone who has had a transfusion cannot donate, and that all plasma is now taken from stocks in the United States, meant the risks to those receiving blood or plasma now were "vanishingly low".

The brain-wasting disease vCJD was first detected in the mid 1990s. Most vCJD patients have been infected after eating BSE contaminated meat. The number of deaths peaked in 2000, when there were 28 deaths. That number has dropped to about five cases a year since 2005.

The epidemic of BSE in the 1980s and 1990s was caused by cattle being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal, causing an infectious agent to spread.

More than 4 million cattle were slaughtered after almost 200,000 were infected with the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

Scientists recently warned that Britain could see a second wave of the vCJD, affecting as many as 300 people, after discovering that genetic differences can affect how long it takes a person to incubate the disease.


10 Blunders New Small Business Owners Make

I see new owners and veteran entrepreneurs make these types of mistakes everyday. I have committed most of these mistakes in my earlier days as well. If you are just starting out and can avoid these mistakes-do so! If you have already committed some of these blunders there are ways to fix it and I will address those in a future post.

1. Thinking Everyone is a Customer- The truth is that not everyone wants to buy what you are selling and an even greater truth is that you should not want to sell to those who don’t need your services. Never start a business without a target audience in mind. Who would benefit MOST from your services? Who would YOU be happiest serving?

2. Networking with Everyone- Networking is a lot like dating. Just because someone is interested doesn’t mean you should go for it. Only network with people you truly have a connection with and discerning this does take practice. These types of decisions I often make using my intuition. What does your gut feeling tell you? I once knew a guy who really wanted to see if we could do something in partnership. The first time I spoke to him I felt something was off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it (this is usually your intuition). Even though I knew deep down that this was not a beneficial venture for me I said yes. After many stressful conversations, I finally explained that I was not interested. It was a hard lesson but a worthwhile one. Since then I have learned to listen to my intuition when deciding who to network with.

3. Wasting Too Much- This goes for wasting too much time and money- Being disorganized will cost you-and it will cost you a lot in business. Learn strong organizational skills before you start your business. When I launched my first business, I was constantly glued to my inbox. I must have really believed that I was being efficient by checking my email and responding promptly. What a joke! Don’t spend too much time doing things that leave you feeling “busy” but are truly unproductive. As for money, remember that each dollar that goes out has to come back, otherwise you are running your business at a loss.

4. Being Too Stingy- This is the opposite extreme of number three. You become too stingy with your money and time. If you print your business cards on regular computer paper or you build your website using a two dollar template then you are risking committing this blunder. You want to make money and that is understandable but make the right investments for your business. This is to your long term advantage.

5. Not Getting Help When You Need It- There are lots of good business ideas out there and lots of business owners who care about their ideas. Unfortunately, many of these business owners don’t get the help they need in managing and running their businesses successfully. An entrepreneur is by no means a lone ranger. If you have a business that you care about and want to see it succeed, get help when you need it.

6. Afraid of Trying New Things- An entrepreneur knows no fear! Okay, just kidding. But you can’t be afraid to try new things. If something isn’t working you have to have the courage to scrap it and go in a new direction. If your current marketing methods are not working, try new ones! If the part-time employee you hired isn’t giving you the type of work you expected, get a new one. This may sound harsh and I am not advocating firing all your employees. I am simply stating that you have to be able and WILLING to change what isn’t working.

7. Thinking Short-Term- If you think short term, you will do anything to make a sale. Even sell to a person who doesn’t need your services. And in the long term this will cause you to crash and burn. New entrepreneurs are often too concerned with making the sale rather than building a brand and reputation. Short term sales using shot gun strategies will not help build your brand and reputation. But if you work on building your brand and reputation, the sales will follow.

8. Wanting it ALL-yesterday- A business (much like life) takes patience. You get to learn lessons, make mistakes (although you can avoid some by reading articles like this one), and fall in love with the process. A business is a process. It is a constant work in progress. If you want to wake up one day and have your business established-you are kidding yourself. Sure, you can have all the business essentials (a good website, wonderful clients, a marketing strategy, etc.) but a business is never completely established. A business must be constantly reinventing itself to better suit its customers.

9. Being too Serious- Life is short and business is supposed to be fun. Treat your clients with respect, offer something that adds value to society, make lots of money, and HAVE FUN! Entrepreneurs often get stereotyped as all work and no play but this is really not the case. Every successful business has some personality to it, and that business personality is a reflection of the owner’s personality. Let your personality shine through in your business. Not only will it make it easier and more fun, but it will also differentiate you from everyone else in your industry.

10. Working Hard- Don’t work hard. Work SMART! If something can be done an easier way, then do it. For example, when I first started my coaching company I would manually save each name and email address when someone subscribed to my newsletter. This was tedious and a huge blunder. Eventually, I found a company (aweber) and let them keep track! Optimize your business processes whenever you can.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Recruiting 2.0

Many entrepreneurs are using social networking, blogging and other Web 2.0 tools to recruit employees. Swati, 34, is particularly enthusiastic about using LinkedIn and Facebook to learn about candidates in depth. "In a typical resume, you might get a line on interests," he says. "On LinkedIn, you can find out who they associate with. On Facebook, you might find some groups and associations and even pictures. It gives us more dimensions than a static resume can offer."

In addition to these well-established general-purpose services, the staffing industry is beginning to offer Web 2.0-style functionality for staffing-specific websites. jobirn.com hooks up candidates, employers and recruiters via IM rather than conventional but slower e-mail.

The mushrooming of Web 2.0 technologies coupled with employers' heightened understanding of how to use these tools to find and hire attractive employees promises to radically reshape the recruiting landscape. There's never been a better way to proactively go out and find and hire people you think are a good fit for your position.

The prices are especially compelling compared to recruiters' fees for successful placements. "Facebook and LinkedIn don't charge 20 to 30 percent fees if you hire someone," Swati says. "Some recruiters may hunt me down for saying this, but in this economy, everybody needs to be watching the bottom line."

The ability to search through resume-like job histories on LinkedIn, blogs, social networking sites and other Web 2.0 resources offers employers some appealing new communication and research channels, to be sure. But Web 2.0 recruiting has a few rough edges, as well. For one thing, more recruiters are joining than employees.

Referrals can work if employers encourage employees to post information about job duties and corporate culture, says Preeti. "If your employees are your biggest assets, why not leverage them to help you differentiate your company and attract and recruit future talent?"

Another problem is that popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are designed for person-to-person networking, not job recruiting. These sites rely on e-mail, which is slower and less interactive than IM. Even though Twitter offers [real-time] messaging, people get a lot of noise. On Jobirn, everything is about the job.

Relying heavily on Web 2.0 recruiting can also hamstring efforts to recruit a diverse work force. For instance, notes Goldy, if you use Web 2.0 technologies to recruit minority or older workers, their lower rates of computer ownership and internet usage will make them harder to find, not easier. Likewise, top executives are probably not best recruited using a Web 2.0 strategy. "If it's a vice president or senior vice president, the likelihood we're going to find someone who's a good fit isn't as high when you're using these social networking tools," Goldy says.

Ultimately, no one sees Web 2.0 as a substitute for human recruiters and interviewers. "It cannot and will not ever replace face-to-face conversation," Swati says. "It should and can only be used to cast the net wider to find more qualified individuals who have a better understanding of what you're looking for and to get a better understanding of who they are."

As various services enter the world of Web 2.0 recruiting, including some that were never designed for that kind of work, Swati is excited about the concept of "cloud recruiting." "That's the ability to leverage all Web 2.0 opportunities at the same time," he says.

Until then, the Web 2.0 recruiting pioneers will find a slightly clunky but, according to fans, highly effective and little-populated world of recruitment strategies. But it may not be thinly peopled for long. Says Goldy, "Given that it comes at a very low cost and does have such a strong influence on attitudes toward the organization and intentions to pursue employment, organizations would be foolish not to make this part of their recruiting package."


Where are you now?

















Friday, February 13, 2009

Social Media Google Slap

video

Just watch the video, it's worth it if you're at all concerned about how your website ranks in the SERPs.

She makes a very good point that if your strategy is to bookmark across hundreds of sites you're going to be in trouble. What she doesn't talk about is the quality of links from those sites. The problem with bookmarking using an autobot to get hundreds of links is that you don't get any internal support from the site -- it's just a submission with a single vote. From what everyone is hearing, Google is slapping those types of links hard.

The good news is that if you concentrate on a few high authority social media sites and get a strong number of internal links to your post (votes), you'll be that much ahead of the people that are relying upon numbers of links rather than quality.

Social media will still be important, but you need to build a strong profile with lots of incoming links (friends) to your profile and lots of incoming links (votes) to your submissions. A Digg story with 1 vote will be pretty much useless. A Digg story with 50 votes that sits in upcoming for a few days will be very powerful.

Also, don't discount the power of social media to bring traffic and other links. While you get no SEO value from a storm of StumbleUpon hits, you're likely to pick up some links as other webmasters are exposed to your content. And the evidence is building that Google is looking at its toolbar data to determine rankings. Sites that get more traffic tend to perform better in the rankings. So don't throw away traffic from sites that don't necessarily convert well because in the end that traffic helps your rankings in many indirect ways.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goals to Action

Hey there,

You probably know that laughter, hope and optimism make life more enjoyable, but some of us seem to be wired for seriousness, sobriety and pessimism instead.

Recent research shows that genetics may have a lot to do with the level of happiness you experience on a day to day basis. Some people are naturally giggly, cheerful, and happy go lucky, while others are a bit more somber.

However, there are still plenty of things you can do to influence how you feel each day.

Your genetics may determine your happiness "set point," the level of happiness that you naturally feel, but your thoughts, choices, and actions still determine how much time you spend above or below that point.

In these difficult times, feeling hopeful can seem like challenge even for natural optimists...
so here's a list of simple things you can do to give your attitude a boost:

1. Do what you love

You already know what you enjoy doing -- if you can find a way to make a living at it great, otherwise consider spending time doing it as a hobby or just for fun.

Spend one or two hours this week doing something that you truly enjoy.

2. Make time for family and friends

Spending time with people you love and enjoy has a relaxing and soothing effect. You'll feel wanted, respected and loved -- critical emotional experiences for good living.

3. Watch a good comedy

Nothing flushes away stress like a good laugh. If you don't have time for a full-length video, find a five-minute funny video/tv serial.

4. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself

Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that things aren't as bleak as they seem. Repeat a positive mantra like "Today is a good day," "I'm having fun today," "I'm a great (insert occupation) and I do my job well," or "God works all things for the good of those who love him."

5. Each day make a list of 10 things you are thankful for

Try not to repeat the same things every day. Spend a few minutes thinking about the items on your list and realize how good you've got it.

6. Exercise

As long as you don't over-do it, exercise has an effect similar to chocolate because it releases endorphins, which generally have an uplifting effect.

7. Challenge yourself

A challenge makes us alert and self aware, which has an energizing effect mentally and physically.

8. Be spontaneous

Whether it's going out to a movie on a whim or wrestling with the kids in the living room, being spontaneous and playful is exciting and energizing.

9. Laugh daily

Laughter triggers your body to create more antibodies and hormones that build up your immune system.

10. Find ways to release tension and stress

If you bottle it all up, stress and tension will eat away at you and make you susceptible to all kinds of illness and health problems. A punching bag or dart board with a picture of your boss on the bullseye make great stress relievers.

11. Play games

Games get you out of your normal rut. They allow you to exercise your brain in a non-threatening situation and to explore new patterns of thinking. Don't get too serious about the games you play, they're supposed to be fun.

12. Play in the world of a child

Children are magnets for joy, creativity and laughter. Get down on your knees and let them show
you how to play.

13. Wear something unusual, goofy or bizarre

Too often, we dress to impress. Purposely wearing something unbusiness-like or downright goofy can help you relax, release tension and free yourself to just be you.

14. Reward yourself

You do great things. Rewarding yourself encourages you to do more great things and builds up your self-esteem.

15. Make a funny movie

Camcorders are relatively inexpensive and everyone can think of something funny to do on camera. It's a creative output that encourages laughter. Post your video on YouTube or MySpace to share with others and make them laugh too.

16. Post jokes, cartoons and funny posters around where you can see them

These things encourage laughter and a light-hearted spirit.

17. Reward someone else

Nothing feels better than making someone else feel special and appreciated, even if it's just a simple smile and "Thank You" for a job well done.

Action Exercise

Pick 3 or 4 of your favorites and DO them over the next week.

Personal Marketing for future needs

If you want to stand head and shoulders above the crowd and be in charge of your career, you must employ the latest Web 2.0 techniques and be willing to change those techniques as they are replaced by newer opportunities.

The only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing. So the Web 2.0 world of today will certainly be replaced by Web 3.0—probably before you know it.

To achieve the highest level of success and fulfillment today, you must immerse yourself in the Web 2.0 frame of mind. That means developing a new set of career management habits.

Become the perfect passive job candidate
Soon, you will move from hunting for jobs to being hunted. Job boards will be a thing of the past, and open positions will come looking for you. That means you need to make yourself visible to prospective hiring managers and executive recruiters.

Social-networking sites and online portals are a great way to connect with like-minded professionals and increase your visibility in your area of thought leadership.

The MarketingProfs Know-how Exchange, LinkedIn, Ryze, and countless other portals and social-networking sites are your opportunity to become selectively famous. But like most tools, you need to use them if you want them to add value to your career.

When’s the last time you logged into a social-networking site?

Build your own fan club
Establish a blog. Make your point of view clear. Build an SEO strategy for your blog so you can attract people who are interested in what you have to say. With RSS feeds and open commenting, you can stay connected to a community.

Those with whom your message resonates will subscribe to your blog and/or post comments. This is a great way to express your thought-leadership, expand your virtual network, and increase your GQ (Google Quotient).

Remember, every post you make is one more item that Google will return when someone googles your name. And visibility is essential to professional success.

Use multimedia to express your views
Audio and video abound on the Web. They provide a fun, multifaceted way to clearly express your message. With over 50,000 new clips added to MySpace today (the day I wrote this article), video is no longer the exception. And with cool, free audio tools like Audacity, anyone can create sound clips that are professional-sounding.

A drab resume or Web site that does not take advantage of images, sounds, and movies will likely bore those who some across it. In a world where the average 20-year-old is an amateur film producer and sound engineer, you want to make sure you are using multimedia effectively to communicate your message

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