Tired of your old job? Looking for a new environment? There are a lot of reasons to leave your home country behind in search of greener pastures, but picking where to go can be an overwhelming decision. There are a lot of conflicting factors: job opportunities, salary considerations, quality of life, safety, and childcare are just a few. HSBC has made the decision a whole lot easier with its latest annual Expat Explorer survey.
The survey ranks the best places to go based on experience, economics, and raising children abroad, with subcategories for each group. We’ve picked out the top 20 places overall. (But you can also personalize the rankings based on which factors matter to you.)
Belgium ranked highly for raising children abroad, healthcare, and learning a new language.
The country was below average for overall experience and economics categories but ranked especially low for sports and healthy diet — unsurprising when you consider the beer, chocolate, and waffles.
Belgium is also relatively free of violent crime, though muggings and pickpocketing are common in the country’s larger cities.
Adventurous expats are likeliest to head to Malaysia. Forty-nine percent told HSBC that the need for “a new challenge” motivated their move.
Those who make the move seem to love it, with expats in Malaysia scoring highly for learning the local language, traveling more, and exploring Malaysia’s fascinating culture.
Malaysia tends to be very affordable, ranking highly for accommodations and local shops and markets.
The country is only middle of the pack, however, in economic measures and raising children abroad. Education is decent but expensive, and the quality of childcare is not good.
Japan’s stagnant economy has it ranking low in economic measures, but the country makes up for it with its exceptional healthcare, travel options, and local culture. It doesn’t hurt that the food is healthy and delicious, ranking first in both diet and local food.
In addition, Japan ranks highly in raising children abroad, thanks to its high-quality, affordable education.
One expat described the people in Japan as such:
“The people here are so friendly and go out their way to help you, even if they speak limited English. I feel welcome here.”
Russia seems like a fun place to live, with high scores for entertainment, work-life balance, social life (first!), making local friends (first!), and more. It ranks 30th for healthy diet, however, perhaps because of the popularity of doughy foods and meats high in cholesterol.
In terms of economics, expats report middle-of-the-road income but high disposable income. The quality of childcare and education is good but expensive.
Russia is notorious for problems with public services like water and electricity. In addition, for American expats, Russia might prove uncomfortable as many in the government and media frequently demonize the US.
While Vietnam ranks highly in economics, the country really shines in disposable income, ranking second. Everything costs less, from transport to entertainment, and great public transportation makes domestic travel easy.
Food is a major plus in the country, as 87% of expats say they enjoy the food compared with 72% globally. The country ranks sixth in diet and third in local food. Vietnam ranks fourth in social life and first in making friends.
Vietnam is not without its problems, however. The country ranks near the bottom for healthcare and quality of life for children.
The UAE continues to have lots of high-paying jobs for expats, who are typically young. The wealthy country provides good working environments, great accommodations, and options for raising children. And then there are the world-famous hotels and shopping malls.
Still, the culture is dramatically different from the West. Islamic traditions and ideals make the country very conservative, with strict rules for public conduct. The language is difficult for many expats, who have trouble making local friends and integrating into the community, though that area is apparently improving.
Oman may have modest oil and gas reserves compared with its neighbors, but the country has made good use of them, leading to a high standard of living. The economy is strong, especially for expats, and the country ranks fourth for satisfaction with the local economy.
The country ranks poorly for raising children abroad, ranking middle of the pack or near the bottom for all measures in that category.
Qatar ranked high for economics but scored low in some quality of life subcategories like quality of accommodation, entertainment, local shops and markets, and making local friends.
While Qatar is the world’s richest country per capita, it is a country in transition. Many residents enjoy amenities like housemaids and five-star airlines, but infrastructure is lacking and there’s a big gap between the rich and poor.
Qatar also ranked 21st in HSBC’s report for raising children abroad. Indeed, The Telegraph points out that many expats educate their children at home.
“Australia offers expats such a great quality of life that they don’t want to leave,” HSBC observes.
The big country down under scores high in assimilation, food, entertainment, weather, and other experiential aspects. These more than make up for the decent economic scores and a few other downsides, like bad public transportation and the quality of childcare.
Canada is a great destination for expats who want to be integrated into their new culture. Expats report that it is easy to make local friends, and 76% note the ease of integrating into the local community.
Housing, quality of life, and the environment all rank highly.
Expats are fairly sour about work-life balances and social lives, but they can rest easy knowing their kids are doing well, with access to high-quality education and healthcare.
“Canada is a culturally diverse country. Be open, accepting, and tolerant of others but retain your individuality,” one expat tells HSBC.
Despite the recent protests, Hong Kong is fairly independent from mainland China and maintains its own currency and set of laws. Expats tend to have high salaries and large amounts of disposable income. In addition, there’s a thriving social scene for expats, and many expats travel around the region.
Expats may have to get used to less space than they had at home, however, as it is one of the most expensive and densely populated cities in the world. Apparently, expats work very hard here, with a very low score for work-life balance.
The most populous democracy in the world is a rising economic superpower, drawing many expats to seek new business opportunities and career options in the country.
What makes India so attractive, however, is how cheap it is to live well. There is cheaper childcare, healthcare, clothing, groceries, and household goods. India ranks sixth in raising children abroad thanks to its high quality of childcare and education.
The country is no slouch on the social scene either, ranking fifth in social life, seventh in making local friends, and ninth for entertainment.
“India is fun, exciting and varied — and that can sometimes mean challenging, too,” an expat told HSBC.
HSBC sums it up succinctly: “A thriving healthcare system, affordable lifestyle, and lively local culture make Taiwan a fantastic option for expats.”
Taiwan stands out for how well expats integrate into local life and how much they enjoy the local culture, including celebrations such as Lunar New Year and the Ghost Festival. Food is a big benefit, too. Eighty-five percent of expats like the local food, and the country is famous for its night markets with numerous local specialties.
Expats were most unhappy with the country’s work-life balance, accommodations, and childcare.
Thailand is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live, and it shows in the rankings. Thailand ranks highly for its overall experience, weather, and accommodations.
Expats report having a high amount of disposable income, which comes in handy with tons of opportunity to spend it. Local food ranks highly, and the country has no shortage of world-class shopping centers or local markets. Travel in the area is also affordable and accessible, with 79% of expats saying it is simple to travel locally.
“Take time to learn the culture, enjoy the beaches in Phuket, and visit the surrounding islands,” an expat recommends.
New Zealand has a relatively low crime rate, according to the US State Department, and it ranks first on HSBC’s report for better quality of life for children, named as the best place for bringing up confident and well-rounded kids.
New Zealand’s government seems eager to recruit expats, with a snazzy website for people thinking about moving to the country.
It’s not all good, though, as New Zealand ranked low for expat disposable income, bringing its ranking down in the economics section.
Unlike other countries in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain does not rely upon oil. The country is instead heavily invested in the banking and tourism sectors, which makes it a great destination for expats looking to integrate into the culture.
“The locals respect and accept expats in a very friendly way,” an expat told HSBC.
Bahrain has a second-place ranking in experience and a respectable 11th in economics. Most expats report that they make more in Bahrain than they would at home, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to more disposable income, because of high accommodation and grocery costs.
Germany is the third-best place in the world for expats to raise kids. The country also benefits from a stronger economy than that of most of the world, with 87% of expats expressing satisfaction with the local economy compared with a global average of 62%.
It is also considered an extremely safe place to live with a very stable political system and low crime. Eighty percent say Germany is safer than their home country.
Expats in Germany struggle, however, to deal with the high cost of living and complain about the social life.
While there are certainly downsides to living in this communist country — like bad weather and mediocre healthcare — the positive factors are overwhelming.
China’s booming economy ranks first in the world for expat economics. As one expat notes, there are “good employment opportunities with less competition.”
Expat social life ranks third, with a friendly local culture and huge opportunities for sport. There are tons of great places to explore in the country, not to mention the easily accessible Asia-Pacific region. Expats have time to have fun, too, with a fairly high score for work-life balance, and 49% of expats say this aspect is getting better.
“For expats looking for an improved quality of life and greater economic opportunities, Singapore is the place to go,” HSBC observes.
Singapore ranked third in economic measures and experience. The country is especially good for raising children thanks to great childcare and education — even if it is expensive. Notably, British education minister Michael Gove has suggested Britain adopt a similar system to Singapore’s.
But to make it in Singapore you really do have to be career-driven, with the country scoring low for work-life balance and with 53% of expats saying they worry about job security.
Yup, life in Switzerland is pretty good. Amid the Alps, the skiing, the food, and the chocolate, you also have a country that ranks first in economics.
A quarter of expats earn more than $200,000, more than twice the global average. Of course, high salaries are necessary because everything is more expensive, including groceries, healthcare, accommodation, accommodation, and going out.
A huge reason for Switzerland’s high ranking is due to its gorgeous scenery, with plenty to do in both summer and winter. In addition, travel is very accessible. The country’s central European location puts it a short train ride from hot destinations like France, Germany, and Italy.
Rachel Southern, an expat blogger, sums it up:
“There is plenty to do in Switzerland: mountains for winter sports and lakes for summer sports. The healthcare is amazing, as is the public transport.”
So when he starts doling out career advice, we listen.
In a series on Fortune in which CEOs offer their best advice, the Sage of Omaha counseled young women on how to advance their careers.
But we think it applies to everybody.
“You do the same thing a male will do,” Buffett said. “You follow your passions. You find something you love.”
By doing that, the logic goes, you’ll bring more energy to your work than everybody else.
“The truth is, so few people really jump on their jobs, you really will stand out more than you think,” Buffett said. “You will get noticed if you really go for it.”
In this way, Buffett’s advice parallels what comedian Steve Martin says to people who want to break into show business: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Take a look at some of the most amazing hotels in the world.
Not everyone can afford holiday in one of these locations, however most of us would love to spend quality time with family or friends in these places. You might want to stay in the room underwater or perhaps enjoy your breakfast from the cave facing the sea.
Everyone will find something interesting.
When is a beach not just the shore? When it takes your breath away at every turn! If you’re looking for a new beach to explore, why not try one or two of the 12 listed below? Each has its own appeal, and all afford the opportunity to discover a new area.
No passport? No problem! Lanikai Beach is in the United States, although it feels like you’ve stepped onto another planet. It’s a very small beach located near Kailua – it’s only a half-mile long, but it’s as pristine as they come. It’s constantly highlighted as a tranquil place where you can get away from all the stressors of daily living. You’ll feel close to nature here, not to mention encircled by pure splendor.
Snorkeling enthusiasts and folks who like to play hard at the beach will appreciate Playa Norte. This Mexican beach area offers a warm lagoon with crystalline waters. Not only is it perfect for floating with fish, but it’s the perfect place to boat as well.
According to U.S. News and World Reports, Cabbage Beach is quite possibly the most popular Bahamian beach. This means you’ll find other tourists lounging there, but don’t worry: There’s plenty of beach to discover, and you’ll never feel crowded! Rent a beach chair and read that book you’ve been putting off, or take a swim in the balmy, blue waters.
Looking to go to a beach for some peace and quiet? Bandon Beach in Oregon is definitely the spot for dreamers, writers, poets, artists and thinkers. You’ll be mesmerized by the stunning environment and marine sounds as you wander around the surf or just sit on a rock and let nature inspire you.
Sometimes the beach that you’ve loved your whole life is one of the top places in the world. Such is the case with Ocean City, where miles of boardwalks accompany immaculate beaches. Do a little bit of footwork and you’ll soon find pockets of beach that are untouched by human hands and just waiting for you to discover them. Don’t forget to watch the sunrise in the morning here, it’s a sight to behold!
Venice Beach is one of those California “must sees.” Not only will you be able to do a little people-watching, but you can enjoy family-friendly fun and shopping while you’re there. Plan on bringing your camera fully charged, because you’ll definitely want to snap shots of the local beach characters who delight the crowds.
While not always known for its beaches, Canada does have a few that will have you doing a double take. Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island is one of those treasures of the Great White North. There are miles of ecological wonders just waiting to be discovered in this paradise. Even during the off-season when it’s too cold to swim comfortably, you’ll be serenaded by the lapping waters and incredible surroundings.
Located along the Gulf Coast, Panama City Beach is clearly one of the top travel beaches. There, the sand is white, the Gulf waters are typically warm and there’s even a park next to the beach area. You’ll quickly forget you’re in a city, and you will only be able to focus on the relaxed ambience.
Want to take a trip to the land that time forgot? Warwick Long Bay in Bermuda could be your beach destination. The coral reefs there are stunning, and you can even ride horses up and down this half-mile stretch of beach. Bring your swimsuit for a quick dip; it will refresh both your body and soul.
The Hidden Beach in Mexico is exactly as its name implies – an out-of-the-way nirvana where you can even swim in the buff in some areas. This makes it ideal for couples and singles, although kids are probably best left at home.
The north beach area, known locally as Plage de St. Jean, is a magnet for swimmers and sailing fanatics. Although it’s a popular beach, it still keeps a strong tether on its inherent charm. You won’t be counting down the days until the end of your visit here; in fact, you might like the atmosphere so much that you wind up making this region the site of your second home.
If you haven’t heard of South Beach, you need to find out as much about it as possible. This is the go-to beach for people who want the driving nightlife of Miami and the sun-sational beaches of southern Florida. South Beach is a place to be seen; don’t be surprised if you spot a Hollywood starlet basking on the sand. At night, you can cruise the soft, sandy beach with a loved one and enjoy the beauty of a tropical sunset.
Of course, every beach has its own unique qualities. The key is to find the one that speaks to you and to keep exploring new beaches that will help you unleash new levels of enjoyment.
Since 1964, the National History Museum in London has been organizing their annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year contest. This year, the Grand title winner in Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which includes photographers up to 17 years of age, was Carlos Perez Naval – a 9-year-old boy from Spain.
Carlos’ parents are tireless travelers, and they always take their son to all their trips around the world. When he was 4, he started taking photos of all the nature he saw – first with a compact camera and now with professional equipment. He gets a bigger lens every time he goes abroad.
Carlos doesn’t need to be in far away lands to take nice photos – during the school year, the flora and fauna in his garden and surrounding Teruel can’t escape the “clicks” of his camera.
This reclining Magdalene by Caravaggio was to be sent to Chiaia, a posh part of Naples, Italy, where Caravaggio’s patron Costanza Colonna resided
The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported one of the great recent discoveries in the art world last week. It claimed that 90-year-old Mina Gregori, one of the doyennes of Italian art history, had found the famously lost masterpiece of the Magdalene in Ecstasy in a European private collection outside Italy. If it is the real thing, its insurance value would be in excess of 20 million pounds ($32.3 million).
The painting is by the radically innovative early Baroque painter Caravaggio. It has previously only been known through several copies, at least one of which had been erroneously claimed as the original. It used to be thought that the picture was painted in 1606 just after Caravaggio had fled from Rome after killing a man in a brawl (or duel). But now the evidence suggests that he painted it a little later, and that he was carrying Magdalene in Ecstasy on a felucca (a traditional sailing boat) in July 1610.
Caravaggio was returning from Naples to Rome in the belief that he was finally to be pardoned for the homicide of 1606. Unfortunately, he died of a fever at Porto Ercole on the Tuscan coast on July 18, 1610, before returning to Rome. No one knows what happened to the original.
What makes the current claim so intriguing is that there is apparently a label on the back of the newly discovered painting in a 17th-century hand. It states that
Cardinal Borghese was the immensely powerful nephew of Pope Paul V, who had been involved in the negotiations for Caravaggio’s return. The cardinal was an avid art collector who had sent letters immediately on Caravaggio’s death to the governor of the garrison at Porto Ercole to retrieve any of Caravaggio’s pictures that were on the felucca and send them to Rome. One of these, a sensual young St. John the Baptist with a ram, is now in the Borghese gallery in Rome, but the Magdalene seems never to have arrived. It was perhaps retained on the felucca which we now know returned to Naples, Italy. Why the picture did not find its way to the cardinal is a moot question.
Perhaps Costanza Colonna wanted to keep it. Perhaps someone decided that its radically erotic, perhaps even sardonic, rendering of a religious ecstasy, entirely consistent with Caravaggio’s provocative rhetoric of the real, was unsuitable for a cardinal –- though the sybaritic Borghese might well have liked it.
It is impossible to judge the authenticity of the painting from the reproduction of only the central part of it in the newspaper, although the full original painting at 103.5 centimeters x 91.5 centimeters is what we would expect from the known replicas. Mina Gregori is 100% convinced that it is the lost original. And if one blows up certain details, such as the head, on a computer screen, one is inclined to think she may be right, both in terms of depth of expression and quality of execution.
The newly discovered painting is very close in style and color to The Martyrdom of St. Ursula (Banca Intesa, Naples), with its pale flesh tones and expressive hands, painted only two months before Caravaggio’s death. The authenticity of the label on the back of the painting will also need to be verified, since rumors are already circulating that it is a forgery.
If this is the real Magdalene in Ecstasy, it is a hugely important discovery. Supporting its claim is the fact that many experts – including me – have never been convinced that the original was among the versions in circulation. While caution about the attribution should be maintained, it is surely now essential to put it to the test by exhibiting the Magdalene publicly.
You never know what lies below the surface.
There’s certainly value to studying the insight of some of the world’s greatest CEOs like Elon Musk and the late Steve Jobs, but sometimes their massive success seems far out of reach for the entrepreneur who’s just starting out.
That’s why marketing consultant, writer, and speaker Brian Honigman gathered advice from entrepreneurs like Levo League‘s Caroline Ghosn and Buffer‘s Leo Widrich. They’re still involved in the nitty-gritty of building successful companies, and they have plenty of wisdom to offer from persevering through hard times.
Honigman first published these lessons on the Huffington Post as “33 Entrepreneurs Share Their Biggest Lessons Learned from Failure.” Marketing software company ReferralCandy took the lessons and packed them into a presentation with additional context.
We’ve published the presentation, illustrated by Jon Tan, here with both ReferralCandy’s and Honigman’s permission.
“I drive myself too hard.” “I sometimes push others too far.” “When I want something badly, I don’t know when to stop.” “When I’m stressed I sometimes take it out on my team.” “The ends justify the means.” If any of these statements sound like you, join the club. The bad news is you’re a stress monster control freak who makes everyone around you miserable. The good news is you’re likely to be very successful. And you’re in very good company.
I, for one, have put myself and probably half the people who have ever worked for me, worked alongside me, or even lived with me through the same meat grinder since day one. So be it. And it’s absolutely a big reason for my success. And I’m not alone.
Not to compare myself with any of the greats but the truth is Steve Jobs was known for the same thing. So were Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. So are Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. They expect great things of themselves and others. That’s who they are. That’s how they roll.
I keep reading that we should lighten up and quit being so competitive. That we shouldn’t be perfectionists. That we should cut ourselves and others some slack. That we shouldn’t set the bar quite so high. That’s the popular wisdom of the day, is it not?
I don’t know how to tell you this, but that’s an incredibly slippery slope. It sounds great on paper, but, in reality, it’s impossible to manage. You either want to accomplish great things or you don’t. If you don’t expect and push for it, you don’t get it. It’s pretty black and white.
But, hey, that doesn’t mean you have to be an insane jerk about it just because some of us are. If you can somehow manage to pull off being nice and not flying off the handle when people make commitments and let you down, go for it. Be my guest. More power to you. But that’s a pretty tight strait to navigate, I can tell you that. You pretty much have to be the Magellan of management.
One story in particular sticks in my mind. I use it to coach people all the time. I think you’ll get a lot out of it or at least enjoy it in a “misery loves company” sort of way.
My company was planning its IPO, and we had our first daylong due diligence meeting with all the investment bankers and their analysts and lawyers. I was the company’s senior veep of marketing and sales. It was my job to stand up, present our business and have all the answers to a million and one questions as the pros picked apart every last detail.
Due diligence is a tough process. No stone is left unturned. I knew that and that was fine. I’d been there before. I could do this. I just needed my team to spend a couple of weeks filling in all the missing pieces we’d previously waved our arms about and said, “We’ll figure that out later.” Well, this was later. Later was now.
It’s the big day of the big presentation. As usual, everything’s down to the wire. It was nail-biting time but that was cool. I understood. I held my breath and told my CEO I had everything under control even though I didn’t. But that’s what a good boss does, right? Shoulders the stress while his team does the heavy lifting. I did that. I had faith in them.
I sat in the lobby of Silicon Valley’s biggest corporate law firm and waited for the last guy to show up with a thumb drive of the only charts I was missing. Minutes before the meeting begins he pulls up, gets out of his car, walks breathlessly into the lobby and hands me the thumb drive.
For a second or two, I’m relieved. I can feel my confidence surging. Then the guy sort of looks at me in a funny way and I know something bad is coming. I can feel all the blood drain from my face as he says, “Um … there are still a few gaps in the forecast.”
I did one of those double take — you know, where you blink your eyes a bunch of times, shake your head a bit and hope you heard wrong. I said, “What do you mean there are some gaps in the forecast?” I’m sure it came out sounding like Jack Nicholson from “The Shining.” I really didn’t mean to freeze the guy in his tracks but what can I say? I was stunned.
Look, I don’t want to get into the gory details here but let’s just say the guy didn’t have a butt left when he scurried out of the building and back to our headquarters, leaving me to face an enormous conference room full of hungry bankers, analysts and lawyers with unexplained gaps in a revenue forecast that our entire business plan rested upon.
Long story short, I fudged my way through the meeting. Over the coming months we got our S-1 prospectus and roadshow pitch done and approved. Of course, that’s exactly when the dot-com bubble burst, putting off our IPO by, oh, about four years. But we did eventually go out and today the company has a $1 billion plus valuation.
In case you’re wondering, that employee survived the episode. I think it surprised both of us but he made the cut. Years later he told me over beers that, while he was terrified of me – perhaps more of letting me down than anything – he was all the better for it, learned a lot and all that good stuff.
Meanwhile, after 20-something years of corporate craziness, I quit “the life” more than a decade ago and operate in a somewhat lower gear these days. Sure, I still hold myself to the highest standards, but I no longer strike fear into the hearts of those around me. And that’s a good thing.
But I wouldn’t change one minute of all those previous years. It was, after all, the genuine me and some great things came of it. If it’s the genuine you, don’t second-guess yourself. Do what you have to do. Life is long. You’ll have time to tone it down later, as I did. Just be true to yourself and everything will work out fine.
Psychological science has found out at least two things about human nature:
• We don’t always act in our own best interest.
• We’re easily manipulated.
If you take it from Harvard psychologist and “Stumbling On Happiness” author Daniel Gilbert, these tripped-up tendencies are evident in the way we make purchases.
Speaking at this month’s World Business Forum in New York, Gilbert unpacks some of the research that he and his colleagues have done, mainly around how comparing things affects our behavior.
In short, the comparisons we draw shape the purchases we make — for better or worse.
He used your neighborhood wine store as an example. Say you’re going over to your friend’s housewarming and you want to pick up a gift.
There’s an $8 bottle of wine, a $27 bottle, and a $33 bottle. Which do you buy?
Most people don’t want the most expensive, and they don’t want the least expensive because, Gilbert says, “you don’t want to feel cheap.”
So most people will opt for the middle price.
A smart retailer will put this information to use by placing a super expensive bottle, like $100 or so, on the same shelf, Gilbert says. It’s not a problem if it doesn’t sell — the purpose of the $100 bottle is to make that $33 bottle look reasonable.
Our comparison shopping gets us tangled up in other ways, too.
According to Gilbert, economists maintain that before buying anything you should ask yourself, “What else could I do with this money?”
But there’s a problem. “You can’t possibly compare the thing you might buy with everything else,” Gilbert says.
“Rather than comparing with the possible,” he continues, “people compare with the past.”
This can get us into trouble.
In another set of experiments, Gilbert presented his subjects with two different purchasing decisions.
• In one, there was a $2,000 Hawaiian vacation package that got marked down to $1,600.
• In another, that $2,000 vacation package went on sale for $700, but you decide to mull it over for a week. And by the time you get to the ticket agency, that deal is gone — you’re left with a $1,500 offer.
Which would you buy? In Gilbert’s experiments, most people took the first offer but rejected the second. That’s because we’re constantly comparing today’s prices with the past, which means we can lose out on our best deals.
It also explains why we’re so drawn to sales. If a product is cheaper today than it was yesterday, we want it.
“That’s why ‘Price Cut’ are the most magical words in marketing,” Gilbert said.
For more from Gilbert, watch his awesome TED Talk below.
Like it or not, social media is an integral part of our lives. But sometimes, the etiquette can be a little fuzzy, especially when your only option is to hit that “like” button.
How do you properly acknowledge an event like a death in the family? Or share your opinion about a headline without participating in a quickly devolving comment thread? If you choose to “like” that post about your co-worker’s surgery or your friend’s kid’s missing pet, will it come off as supportive or flippant?
Despite these possible social minefields, former Facebook CTO and current Quip CEO Bret Taylor, the man who created the confusion-inducing thumbs up symbol five years ago, says you shouldn’t expect to see a “dislike” button anytime soon.
Taylor told TechRadar that while the “dislike” button idea was explored, it was ultimately taken off the table because of its “complexity” and it’s potential to be used for cyber bulling.
“The main reason is that in the context of the social network, the negativity of that button has a lot of unfortunate consequences,” said Taylor “If you want to dislike something, you should probably write a comment, because there’s probably a word for what you want to say.”
However, TechRadar also pointed out that “likes” are also a way for advertisers to target their audience, along with distinctions like relationship status, gender, location and education. Taylor says the idea initially grew out of streamlining comments thread when people would just post things like “wow” and “cool.” “It wasn’t really just a sentiment of ‘like’.”
That question of nuance also comes into play when you consider how people use the “favorite” button on Twitter. This summer, a trio of researchers from Germany and England conducted a study that found people “favorite” tweets for as many as 25 different reasons, ranging from emotional resonance to an accidental slip.
There’s a lot of hope today that playing mindless brain training games will make you smarter. But instead of trying a quick fix, why not read something that will really work out your brain? It may not be easy, but perhaps you’ll actually learn something by wrestling with difficult material.
Dominic Cummings, at the time special adviser on policy to the education secretary of Britain Michael Gove, argued in Some Thoughts On Education and Political Priorities that “we need an ‘Odyssean’ education so that a substantial fraction of teenagers, students and adults might understand something of our biggest intellectual and practical problems, and be trained to take effective action.”
After: Waking up to panting, hair, and slobber at whatever time your dog specifies
After: Going on long walks or jogs that are interrupted by frequent bathroom breaks
After: Finding dog hairs on your clothes, in your food, on your furniture, and everywhere else you could ever imagine
After: Using the door to let the dog out, waiting five minutes for the dog to decide if she ACTUALLY wants to go out, closing it, and then opening it again when the dog decides she does indeed want to go out
After: Smelling like whatever your dog rolled in before he jumped into your lap
After: Floors covered in muddy pawprints and flecks of slobber
After: Cleaning up bodily fluids that are definitely not yours
After: Spending a small fortune on vet bills
After: Never being alone when food is involved
After: Your guests spending all their time with your dog
After: Hearing incessant, crazed barking and knowing someone is kind of near your house
After: A yard covered in poo, tennis balls, and sticks
After: Ain’t no countertop high enough, ain’t no table low enough
After: People walking in, sniffing, and asking if you just gave your dog a bath
After: Trusting your dog’s judgment regarding people you date
After: Buying a car based on whether or not it can accommodate your canine companion(s)
After: Going to a shelter and wishing you could take home all the dogs
After: Peace and quiet means that something is being methodically shredded
After: Worrying about what to do with the dog while on vacation
After: Knowing someone else will immediately devour whatever you drop on the floor
After: You talk in a high-pitched voice and repeat certain phrases. Oh yes you do, oh yes you do.
After: Feeling like the dog-shaped hole in your heart has finally been filled
Meet The Wealthiest Person In Every US State
Megan Willett/Business Insider
Wealth-X, an international wealth intelligence firm, has just released its annual list of the richest person in every US state.Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison all grabbed the top spots for their home states of Washington, Nebraska, and California, respectively — no big surprise, considering they’re three of the wealthiest men on the planet and were on the list last year, too.
Of the 50 states, nine did not have a single billionaire living there, including Utah, New Mexico, Mississippi, Maine, Delaware, Hawaii, South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming.
There were also a few shake-ups this year. T. Denny Sanford of South Dakota lost over half of his wealth, dropping from $1.3 billion to $580 million. Christy Walton was one of six women to make the list in 2014, ousting her brother-in-law Tim Walton as the wealthiest person in Arkansas.
Jonathan Ledecky is the chairman of the board and chief accounting officer for Kitara Media Corp.
The 56-year-old is also a big hockey fan. He sold his minority ownership in the Washington Capitals to current owner Ted Leonsis in 2001, but now has a deal in the works to become the majority owner of the New York Islanders after the 2015-16 season.
78-year-old T. Denny Stanford is the chairman and CEO of United National Corp. He made his fortune as the owner of First Premier Bank and Premier Bankcard.
He has two children and is also known for his philanthropy. Sanford famously told Forbes, “I want to die broke.”
Robert “Bob” Gore is an American engineer and scientist who, along with his father Bill Gore, invented Gore-Tex, a waterproof/breathable fabric made from polytetrafluoroethylene.
The 77-year-old earned his M.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, and is currently the chairman of the board of W. L. Gore & Associates.
Leon Gorman is both the former president and former chairman of the clothing company L.L. Bean.
The 79-year-old was L.L. Bean’s grandson, and under his leadership, the clothing company evolved from a $2.5 million catalog company with a single store in Freeport into$1.5 billion company with 5,000 employees.
Perhaps the least well-known name on this list, David H. Nutt is a trial lawyer for the Nutt-McAlister firm in Mississippi.
He made a name for himself in 2007 and 2008 when he represented the Scruggs Katrina Group for allegedly attempting tobribe a judge as well as in a sexual harassment suit. He currently has anauditorium named after him at Ole Miss.
Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. grew up as the son of Mormon pioneers in Utah to become the founder of the Huntsman Chemical Corporation, the largest manufacturer of polystyrene in the United States.
The 77-year-old Huntsman is quite the philanthropist, having given away over $1.2 billion for cancer research, education programs, and aid to Armenia.
The founder of the Tharaldson Companies, Gary Tharaldson is a well-known hotelier who started his career after purchasing his first hotel in 1982.
He first made it onto the Forbes 400 list of richest people in American in 1997 — a long ways away from his childhood as a farmhand and first job teaching bookkeeping and gym class in a 45-student high school.
Frank VanderSloot is the CEO of Melaleuca, a company that has had a troubled history. Critics have accused Melaleuca ofmisrepresenting its sale estimates, and of making false claims about its “green” supplements.
VanderSloot was also a huge supporter of Mitt Romney. Both men are Mormons and alumni of Brigham Young University,according to Mother Jones.
Tom Benson is the owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Hornets, as well as a 26-story office building, New Orleans Fox affiliate, and auto dealerships.
The 87-year-old is married with three children, and is well-known for his “Benson Boogie” victory dances after Saints’ home wins.
James “Jim” Justice II is the founder of the James C. Justice Companies, which owns resorts as well as coal-mining operations that are currently facing various legal actions.
As the story goes, Robert Stiller founded Green Mountain Coffee after skiing in Sugarbush and drinking an amazing cup of coffee. He subsequently bought the company and turned it into Green Mountain in the 1980s.
In 2013, 71-year-old Stiller decided to leave the board after a series of poor investment decisions (including in Krispy Kreme), but remains in an advisory capacity.
58-year-old Jonathan Nelson is the CEO of Providence Equity Partners. The firm, founded in 1989, mainly buys media and telecom companies.
He sits on the board of the Newport Festivals Foundation and is a trustee of his alma mater, Brown University, where he donated $20 million to fund the construction of a new fitness center.
59-year-old John S. Middleton sold the privately held cigar maker John Middleton Inc. for $2.9 billion in 2007 to Altria Group. The company was started by his family in 1856 as a Philadelphia tobacco shop, and at the time was the world’s third-largest cigar maker.
Nowadays, Middleton and his wife Leigh are dedicated to giving back to charities in Philadelphia, including Project HOME, University of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia School District.
Marguerite Harbert is the widow of the late construction and energy mogul John Murdoch Harbert III, who passed away in 1995.
The 91-year-old Harbert inherited her wealth from her husband, and has three children.
A four-time college dropout, Brad M. Kelley grew up on a Kentucky farm and made his fortune in discount cigarette brands as well as buying and selling real estate.
The 58-year-old is married with three daughters, and is the fourth largest landowner in the US as of 2013. According to The Wall Street Journal, he even has a ranch in Florida where he keeps hippos, rhinos, antelopes, and tapirs.
62-year-old Anita Zucker is the CEO of chemical manufacturer InterTech Group, a maker of specialty chemicals, high-tech fibers and precision aircraft parts that she inherited from her husband when he passed away from a brain tumor in 2008.
She has three children, and also owns the Carolina Ice Palace and 50% of the minor league hockey team the South Carolina Stingrays.
Theodore “Ted” Lerner is the founder of real estate firm Lerner Enterprises and themanaging principal owner of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
The 88-year-old Lerner and his wife Annette are also founding members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Micky** via Compfight cc
The last member of the Cargill family, Whitney MacMillan is the part-owner of Cargill Inc., a grain company, and great-grandson of founder W. W. Cargill.
85-year-old MacMillan served as CEO of Cargill from 1976 to 1995, and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale is named for him.
Bruce Halle Senior is the founder and chairman of Discount Tires, the world’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer. He even owns his own NASCAR car.
His personal philanthropic organization, theBruce T. Halle Family Foundation supports a lot of causes, including the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice at Arizona State University and the Children First Academy, the nation’s largest school for homeless children.
AP Photo/Matt Sullivan
Leslie “Les” Wexner is the chairman and CEO of L Brands, whose companies include Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Henri Bendel, and La Senza.
The 77-year-old lives in a $47 million estatewith 30 rooms and nearly 336 acres of land. The guest quarters are a separate structure entirely that was featured in the July 2004 issue of Architectural Digest.
AP Photo/Doug McSchooler
Gayle Cook is a member of board of directors of medical device firm Cook Group, which she founded and grew out of her bedroomwith her husband Bill Cook in the 1960s.
The 80-year-old Cook is #240 on the Forbes World Billionaires list, and has one son, Carl, who’s involved in the company.
CNBC/ Heidi Gutman
45-year-old Kenneth “Ken” Griffin is the founder of the hedge fund firm Citadel, having started trading in his Harvard dorm room in the ’80s. Today, Griffin ownsproperties in Florida and Hawaii as well as a Chicago penthouse.
He is currently involved in contentious divorce proceedings with his soon-to-be-ex wife Anne Dias-Griffin, a Goldman Sachs alum. Dias is asking for sole custody of their three children and as well as for the judge to throw out a prenup.
Dennis Washington is the founder of The Washington Companies and co-founder of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation. As a kid, Washington shined shoes for money and lived in government housing until he started his own construction business with a $30,000 loan.
The 80-year-old has owned several yachts, including the Attessa IV, which is worth an estimated $300 million with an 18-karat-gold-finished wall, according to Forbes. He’s married with two children.
Kenneth Dart owns and serves on the board of directors of Dart Enterprises and is also the president of Dart Container (those styrofoam cups). His father William F. Dart founded the company back in 1937.
He is also on the board of Dart Neuroscience, which works toward advancing technologies to reduce memory loss.
Micky Arison is the former chairman of Carnival Corporation and the managingpartner of the Miami Heat. Arison stepped down from Carnival in June 2013 after the infamous “Poop Cruise” stranded passengers with limited water and bathroom access for five days. He still holds a 23% stake in the company.
The 65-year-old dropped out of Miami University, and was reported to be living in Miami on his two 200-foot yachts he uses as homes.
92-year-old Jack C. Taylor is the founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car that he started in 1957. He served in WWII as a pilot and named the company after the aircraft carrier he served on.
Taylor’s son Andy has run the company since 1991 when his father stepped down. Taylor is retired but remains an advisor.
74-year-old John Menard is the founder and owner of home-improvement retailer Menard Inc., and currently lives in Eau Claire with his wife.
He is known for his eccentric employee policies, including making everyone — including executives — punch a time clock. He is also a former IndyCar racing team owner.
David Tepper is the president and founder of Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund that specializes in investing in distressed companies.
The 57-year-old is married with three kids, and he is known for his philanthropic donations, specifically to food banks and food pantries across N.J. He’s also building a gigantic mansion in the Hamptons.
Dubbed by BusinessWeek “New Hampshire’s Invisible Grocery Billionaire,” 62-year-old Richard Cohen (he goes by Rick) tries to stay out of the limelight as much as possible.
He single-handedly made his company C&S Wholesale Grocers into the world’s largest grocery wholesaler since taking over the business in 1989. He currently serves as its chairman.
James “Jim” Goodnight is the CEO of SAS Institute, a company he started as a faculty member of North Carolina State University in 1976.
71-year-old Goodnight thinks education is critical to success of people, and he and his wife make education the main focus of SAS’ philanthropy. SAS is also known for itsworker-friendly programs, including a 35-hour workweek and on-site day care.
Anne Cox Chambers is a member of Cox Enterprises’ board of directors, and chairwoman of Atlanta Newspapers.
The 94-year-old inherited the company from her father, and currently serves on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Atlanta Historical Society, and the Woodruff Arts Center, as well as on the boards of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pasteur Foundation, and the Whitney Museum in New York.
52-year-old Abigail Johnson is the president of Fidelity Investment’s Financial Services, the second-largest U.S. mutual fund company.
She is the third in her family to hold an executive title, and is married with two children.
AP Photo/Evan Agostini
68-year-old Harold Hamm is the chairman and CEO of Continental Resources. He has a68% stake in his ‘Oil Champion’ company, which makes him potentially the biggest owner of oil in America.
He may soon be a lot less wealthy, however, as he could be forced to split his $17 billion fortune with his estranged wife, Sue Ann Hamm.
Michael Dell is the founder and CEO of Dell Inc. He famously dropped out of school at the University of Texas at Austin to found Dell, which IPO’d in 1988 and made him a billionaire.
Sheldon Adelson is the 81-year-old chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands.
He is currently one of the biggest donors to the Republican party, and is known for giving some questionable quotes including that the US should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran and that all the CEOs in Vegas are essentially copying him.
Getty Images / Mike Stobe
Michael Bloomberg is the founder and 88% owner of Bloomberg L.P., the global financial data and media company, as well as the former mayor of New York City.
59-year-old Christy Walton ousted her brother-in-law Jim Walton to become the wealthiest woman in Arkansas this year. A year ago, Walton sold her mansion in Wyoming.
She married into the Wal-Mart family through her late husband John Walton, who died in a plane crash, and her wealth has soared with the value of the Wal-Mart shares she inherited.
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
David Koch is the executive vice president of Koch Industries, which owns firms that are involved in refinery, chemicals and financial trading, and others.
He’s a well-known conservative and libertarian donor, and his David H. Koch Charitable Foundation has pledged or contributed more than $750 million to medical centers, educational institutions, and cultural institutions.
At 70-years-old, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison officially stepped down from his position as CEO this year.
Ellison did not even graduate from college, but that did not stop him from doing incredibly well for himself. In addition to all of his fancy toys, Ellison owns a 97% stake in the Hawaiian island of Lanai.
REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Known as the ‘Oracle of Omaha,’ 84-year-old Warren Buffet is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is famous for hispersonal frugality and investment savvy.
Buffet is also extraordinarily philanthropic — so far, he’s given away an estimated $20 billion during his lifetime, and has pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.
58-year-old Bill Gates is the Microsoft chairman and co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the 2nd richest man in the world.
Through his charitable foundation, Gates has donated more than $30 billion, and with Warren Buffett has convinced 100 billionaires to sign on to the Giving Pledge, a promise to donate at least half one’s net worth to charity.
Source: Business Insider.com
Humans love to compete at pretty much everything and these odd contests from all over the world prove it.
Employees can take advantage of some amazing dishes at the company’s main cafeteria, Caffè Macs, at its Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California. From paella to ramen burgers, there’s a huge variety of food to be had here every single day. There are a few smaller Apple cafeterias in Cupertino as well, including a stunning new building that was designed by Foster + Partners, the firm behind the company’s future “spaceship” headquarters.
The food is also pretty cheap, though ironically enough employees can get fresh apples for free.
When selecting the cast for a biopic, or biographical movie, the director must walk a fine line between selecting someone for their physical similarity vs. selecting them for having the thespian talent required to play the part. Here’s a list of actors who definitely succeeded on the physical similarity side of things.
It’s not just the actor who does all the work – casting experts and makeup artists also play a huge role in making these famous figures come to life on the big screen. Many consider biopics to be some of the most difficult and rewarding roles in Hollywood. Most historical figures have a wealth of information available about them, and it is the actor’s job to understand and embody all of this available information, all while portraying a historical figure that many people may have strong feelings about.
Whether you’re drafting staff memos, blog posts, performance reviews, text messages or product descriptions, you can’t afford to write copy that leaves readers confused or bored. Good writing helps you give clear instructions to employees. It woos customers. It even convinces your banker. In other words, your job depends on it.
After coaching hundreds of journalists and business owners, I’ve identified 10 common traps in business writing. Consult my handy 10-point checklist before sharing your writing:
Weak verbs make writing boring. Look for a weak verb followed by a preposition. Often you can remove both and replace them with a strong verb.
Weak: Look up directions in the product manual.
Strong: Consult the product manual for directions.
Many pretentious words have three or more syllables.
For a good example, go to the Gobbledygook generator and click on “Generate some gobbledygook.” You’ll see confusing sentences with meaningless words, empty phrases and buzzwords like this:
“Our upgraded model now offers parallel reciprocal resources.”
Use the handy tool on the right side of the page to find shorter alternative words.
Look for the forms of the verb “to be” (is, was and were), especially near the beginning of sentences. Try to replace each one with a stronger verb, even if you must rewrite the sentence.
Weak: The delivery man is frightened by the noises he hears in the dark factory.
Strong: In the dark factory, the delivery man hears noises that frighten him.
Avoid cluttering text with “ly” adverbs. Sometimes adverbs are used to modify weak verbs. Remove them and insert stronger verbs.
Weak: I’m hopefully going to have unused sick days.
Strong: I hope I have unused sick days.
Avoid using clichés in business writing.
Here are some of them: at the end of the day, throwing (anyone) under the bus, drinking the Kool-Aid, paradigm shift, pushing the envelope, thinking outside the box.
Many writers jam together two words with an awkward slash to convey “or.” These cumbersome speed bumps can slow down readers.
Other annoyances are Latin abbreviations like “i.e.,” which is short for “id est” and means “that is,” according to Merriam-Webster.
Then there’s “e.g.”, which is short for “exempli gratia“ and means “for example.”
Instead of sprinkling in these confusing abbreviations, which many people use incorrectly, just write out “in other words” or “for example.”
Edit text to remove unwarranted wordiness. Pretend you can earn a $1 for every word you remove. How much money can you make?
Change “due to the fact that” to “since.”
Substitute “fast” for “on a timely basis.”
Change “at the present time” to “now.”
In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed by the verb. In the passive voice, the subject is acted upon. Using the active voice leads to crisper, livelier writing.
Active voice: The cleaning crew throws scrap paper into the recycling bins.
Passive voice: Scrap paper is thrown into the recycling bins by the cleaning crew.
Don’t write in vague terms.
Weak: It took us a long time to read the thick proposal.
Strong: We spent two hours reading the 25-page proposal.
For some readers, fat paragraphs convey an unpleasant message: “This is going to be difficult to read.”
Slice and dice large paragraphs into shorter ones.
Break up copy with subheads that tell readers how the piece is organized.
Consider creating numbered or bulleted lists that are easy to read.
A free tool, The Hemingway App, can help you improve your writing. The app highlights problems in five colors, with green signifying the passive voice and red highlighting dense, complicated sentences. The app also grades copy for readability, indicating the lowest education level needed to understand a passage of text. Bold, clear writing has a grade level below 10. The Hemingway App is a fun tool that’s the best substitute for a human editor.
How do you generate the most profit with the least effort? How do you maximize margins without sacrificing quality? I’m not talking more customers, nor more revenue, nor more offices and employees. Profit.
Based on my interviews with high-performing CEOs (“high-performing” determined using annual-profit-per-employee measurements) in more than a dozen countries, I’ve listed 11 common “rules” below. This is a return-to-basics call.
Here’s your cheat sheet for consistent profitability — or doubling of it — in 3 months or less.
Use direct response advertising (call-to-action to a phone number or website) that is uniquely trackable – fully accountable advertising — instead of “image” or “brand” advertising (e.g. billboards with no URL/phone/messaging), unless others are pre-purchasing product to offset the cost (e.g. “If you prepurchase 288 units, we’ll feature your store/URL/phone exclusively in a full-page ad in….”).
Don’t listen to advertising salespeople who tell you that 3, 7, or 27 exposures are needed before someone will act. Well-designed and well-targeted advertising works the first time. If something works partially well (e.g., high click-through with low percentage conversion to sales (CVR), or low click-through with high conversion, etc.), indicating that a strong ROI might be possible with small changes, tweak one variable and micro-test once more.
Cancel anything that cannot be justified with a trackable ROI.
Is your pricing scalable?
Many companies will sell direct-to-consumer by necessity in early stages, often through a simple website. Only later do they realize that their margins can’t accommodate resellers and distributors when they come knocking. This is true whether your “distributor” is iTunes, a worldwide widget distributor, or Orbitz.
If you have a 40% profit margin and a national distributor needs a 70% discount off of retail (or “cut”) to sell into wholesale accounts, you’re forever limited to direct-to-consumer… unless you increase your pricing and margins after-the-fact, or launch new “premium” products to fix the problem. For a bootlegged start-up, this distraction can equal sky-high customer churn or death altogether.
Plan out your first two years of distribution plan before setting pricing.
Think digital is different? Think again.
Test assumptions and find hidden costs by interviewing those who have done it: will you need to pay for co-op advertising, offer rebates for bulk purchases, or pay for shelfspace or featured placement? I know one former CEO of a national brand who had to sell his company to one of the world’s largest soft drink manufacturers before he could access front-of-store shelving in top retailers.
Test your assumptions and do your homework before setting pricing. It’s not a small thing.
Is more distribution automatically better? Not necessarily.
Uncontrolled distribution leads to all manner of head-ache and profit-bleeding, most often related to rogue discounters. Reseller A lowers pricing to compete with online discounter B, and the price cutting continues until neither is making sufficient profit on the product and both stop reordering from you (or selling/referring your product). This race to the bottom requires you to launch new products, as price erosion is almost always irreversible.
Avoid this scenario and consider partnering with one or two key distributors instead, using that exclusivity to negotiate better terms: less discounting, prepayment instead of net payment terms, preferred placement and marketing support, etc.
Whether Apple or Estee Lauder, sustainable high-profit brands usually begin with controlled distribution. Remember that more customers isn’t the goal; more sustained profit is.
This is related to Rule #3.
Focus on creating end-user demand so you can dictate terms. Often one large advertisement, bought at discount remnant rates, will be enough to provide this leverage.
Just because everyone in your industry offers payment terms doesn’t mean you have to, and offering terms is one of the most consistent ingredients in start-up failure.
To avoid getting strung out and cash-flow poor: Cite start-up economics and the ever-so-useful “company policy” as reasons for needing prepayment and apologize, but don’t make exceptions.
If you agree to receive payment on net-30 terms (they pay 30 days from invoice, or receipt of product), it will become net-60, which becomes net-120. Time is the most expensive asset a start-up has, and chasing delinquent accounts will prevent you from generating more sales.
On the hand, if tons of customers are asking for your product, resellers and distributors will need to buy. It’s that simple. Think a big order from Wal-Mart is a godsend? Be careful. Since they’re almost always net-180+, and they can return unsold product, it could actually be the death of your company. How are you going to pay for the needed inventory? Typically, debt. What will you do if they return half of it because they didn’t give it proper placement, so it didn’t have sufficient sell-through? Be careful, lads and lasses.
Put funds and time into strategic marketing and PR to tip the scales in your favor. Consumer demand = your ability to negotiate better terms.
Don’t manufacture products in large quantities to increase your margin, unless your product and marketing are tested and ready for roll-out. In other words, only when you already have a proven demand and can forecast sell-through rate.
If a limited number of prototypes cost $10 per piece to manufacture and sell for $11 each, that’s fine for the initial testing period, and essential for limiting downside. Sacrifice margin temporarily for the testing phase, if need be, and avoid potentially fatal upfront overcommitments.
Several years ago, an investment banker was jailed for SEC violations.
He was caught partly due to his lavish parties on yachts, often featuring hired dwarves. No joke. The owner of the dwarf rental company, Danny Black, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying: “Some people are just into lavish dwarf entertainment.”
Niche in the new big, I tell you. And here’s the secret: it’s possible to niche market and mass sell.
iPhone commercials don’t feature dancing 50-year olds, they feature hip and fit 20-30-somethings, but everyone and his grandmother wants to feel youthful and hip, so they strap on Apple gear and call themselves converts. Who you portray in your marketing isn’t necessarily the only demographic who buys your product — it’s often the demographic that most people aspire to. The target isn’t the market.
No one aspires to be the bland average, so don’t water down messaging to appeal to everyone–it will end up appealing to no one.
Measure compulsively, for as Peter Drucker stated: what gets measured gets managed.
Useful metrics to track, besides the usual operational stats, include CPO (“Cost-Per-Order,” which includes advertising, fulfillment and expected returns, chargebacks, and bad debt), ad allowable (the maximum you can spend on an advertisement and expect breakeven), MER (media efficiency ratio), and projected lifetime value (LV) given return rates and reorder %. Consider applying direct response advertising metrics to your business.
Look at “lean start-up” metrics for more methods of measuring during the start-up phase. The work of Eric Ries is a good starting place.
Being busy is not the same as being productive. In fact, being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
Forget about the start-up overwork ethic that people wear as a badge of honor–get analytical. I’m not going to say “work smarter; don’t work harder,” as I’m fine with hard work…but only as long as it’s applied to the right things.
The 80/20 principle, also known as Pareto’s Law, dictates that 80% of your desired outcomes are the result of 20% of your activities or inputs. Once per week, stop putting out fires for an afternoon and run the numbers to ensure you’re placing effort in high-yield areas:
What 20% of customers/products/regions are producing 80% or more of the profit? What are the factors that could account for this?
Invest in duplicating your few strong areas instead of fixing all of your weaknesses.
Not all customers are created equal.
Apply the 80/20 principle to time consumption: What 20% of people are consuming 80% of your time? Put high-maintenance, low-profit customers on auto-pilot. Sure, process their orders, but don’t pursue them or check up on them. And “fire” high-maintenance, high-profit customers by sending a memo detailing how a change in business model requires new policies at your company: how often and how to communicate, standardized pricing and order process, etc.
Indicate that, for those clients whose needs are incompatible with these new policies, you are happy to introduce other providers.
“But what if my largest customer consumes all of my time?” you ask? Recognize that 1) without time, you cannot scale your company (and, oftentimes, life) beyond that customer, and 2) people, even good people, will unknowingly abuse your time to the extent that you let them.
Set good rules for all involved. Minimize back-and-forth and meaningless communication.
Skill is overrated.
Perfect products delivered past deadline kill companies. Better to have a good-enough product delivered on-time. Google “minimal viable product” for more on this philosophy. Even the great Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, has wisely said that, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
Test someone’s ability to deliver on a specific and tight deadline before hiring them based on a dazzling portfolio.
Products can be fixed as long as you have cash-flow, and bugs are forgiven, but missing deadlines is often fatal. Calvin Coolidge once said that nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent; I would add that the second most common is smart people who think their IQ or resume justifies delivering late. Don’t tolerate it.
When other people want to see the “next big thing” they wait for Apple to release a blue iPhone.
Not you. You know all the big stuff is happening on Kickstarter. On Kickstarter, all the groundbreaking dreams deemed by bigwigs as “too risky” can finally find the cash to become reality. You want a smart watch? A virtual reality system? A bedside hot-dog dispenser? Done!
There are some really mind-blowing things coming out of the woodwork. The most notable projects leave your jaw on the floor and your tongue rolled out like some sort of cartoon wolf. Let’s take a look at some recent creative Kickstarter projects that have promise:
Drones are hot, people. Hexo+ is a smart drone that automatically registers where you are and follows you around, filming the whole thing. This isn’t necessarily as creepy as that sentence makes it sound. Flight time hovers (pun intended) around 10 minutes, so it’s only used to capture very specific footage.
If the $1.3 million in funding is any indication, people are excited for this! Looking at the footage, it reminds me of the camera you’d find in video games. Extreme sports fanatics can take some amazing-looking video and it changes everything. Even your skateboard-obsessed cousin will be releasing world-class videos just like the pros.
About a year ago there was much buzz about water-repelling sprays. All that excitement died down when we realized how toxic those chemicals were. LiquidOff breaks through the noise with a unique, eco-friendly and nontoxic formula that repels water.
Instead of just applying it to roofs, boots, and walkways, you can now safely waterproof things like baby clothing, expensive furniture, windshields, cell phones, and more. Imagine everything you own lastingyears longer. Imagine the spilled coffees in your car never leaving a stain, walking through mud with ease, or your bathroom mirror never fogging up again after a hot shower. This is revolutionary stuff.
This is one that gets the hardcore creatives screaming WHAAAAAT?!ScribblePen is your real-world Photoshop ink dropper tool. Just place the end of the pen up to anything and you can automatically sample any color and use it an instant later. Save over 100,000 colors and sync them to your smartphone for later use.
The possibilities for artistry, photo touch-ups, design, and goofing off on company time are staggering. These guys are launching in the beginning of August and I can’t wait for this one!
Stayblcam is a lightweight and easy-to-use camera stabilizer. Turn your cellphone, flipcam, or GoPro into a high-tech piece of film equipment. I’ve spent many years on the sets of feature films, and getting steady moving shots was always a big deal.
On film sets they’d strap a guy into a 100lb suit with weights and counterweights and hook the camera on to him, paying him thousands of dollars per day. Stayblcam replaces the whole system for under $100. Be prepared to see some really nice cat videos in the coming months!
Wait, what? Wireless earbuds? That don’t suck? Yes, you read that right.
Earin aims to be the wireless music solution that actually sounds decent. Many music lovers get skeptical when it comes to the audio quality of earbuds, and making anything “wireless” usually makes the quality even worse.
Earin claims to have superior quality to that of normal earbuds. It’s hassle free, comfortable, and sexy all at the same time. This might just be the last pair of headphones you ever buy.
Electronic Objects is an astonishingly great idea. These guys have created a computer that doesn’t function as a computer, but instead functions as living art. The problem with most digital photo frames is how technical it all is. The moment you put a user interface on your photo frame, you’re instantly distracted from the experience.
The EO1 promises to have a simple user interface linked into your phone. You control all the options off-screen, and you allow your EO1 to update with new artwork. This is going places people. Welcome to the future.
Your smart devices are insanely useful but can be more frustrating than M. Night Shyamalan’s stab at The Last Airbender. It’s impossible to angle itperfectly so you can kick back, chillax, and watch eight straight hours ofHouse Of Cards (or whatever you kids are watching these days). STAN solves this problem with a design reminiscent of the Pixar lamp.
Sometimes propping your iPad, Kindle, or smartphone up against a pillow just doesn’t give you the positioning you need – I’m glad somebody’s thought of a solution.
It’s an astonishment that the Nikola Tesla story isn’t taught in public schools. We hear about Edison’s story every time the late 1880s are brought up, but Tesla’s usually less than a footnote. A group of film students are looking to popularize the scientific mind behind electricity with a ultra-HD film titled Tesla.
The test footage looks decent and the actors look like they were actually pulled out of the 1880s with a T.A.R.D.I.S. I’m a fan of Tesla’s story and I hope they make something that wins awards.
There’s a big dissonance between riding a trike and a bike. It’s not just the lack of a stabilizing wheel that makes the transition hard, it’s also that on a bike you need to lean to turn. The Dreisch Leaning Tricycle introduces the leaning concept a step earlier and prepares children for the full biking experience.
It’s too early to see the long-term benefits of this, but I’m excited to see the case studies in a few years.
When you’re a college student on the “Ramen Noodle Every Night” diet, you don’t have time for dishes, yo. You’ve got that mid-term to study for! So imagine being able to cook, strain, eat, and store your mac-n-cheese in a single bowl? OneBowl is your answer.
I’m ending on this project note because this proves the biggest point of Kickstarter. You’ve probably got an idea kicking around in the back of your head. It could be as simple as a bowl/strainer combo or as complex as nanotechnology. All of these project creators were all real people with an idea and a making it happen, and so can you.
Hidden urban geometry at its finest.
In the summer of 2012, the British government informed Virgin Trains that it had lost the bid to retain the operating rights to the UK’s West Coast rail franchise. Virgin Trains had been running the 7-billion-pound ($10.9 billion) franchise for 15 years, expanding the line and growing its annual passenger numbers from 13 million to 30 million.
Richard Branson, chair of Virgin Train’s parent company the Virgin Group, writes in his book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership” that he was “stunned and baffled” that he could have lost the bid to FirstGroup.
He decided to stay quiet for awhile, meeting with lawyers and advisors to see if Virgin had actually been beaten fairly. Everyone he spoke with seemed to conclude that FirstGroup’s numbers were unsustainable, meaning the British government had made a mistake in calculations. Regardless, many of his senior team told Branson that he’d only be wasting his time and hurting his image with a lawsuit. But, after carefully weighing the facts, he decided to move forward with the lawsuit.
A week before he was scheduled to meet the Department for Transport in the UK’s high court, Branson got a phone call from the department’s secretary. The secretary told him that on further review, the department had indeed made grave miscalculations and Virgin had offered the better deal.
Branson considers his decision to sue the government, which ultimately saved his rail business, to be one of the best high-stakes decisions he’s ever made. In his book he highlights four rules that he’s used to make tough decisions throughout his business career:
Branson says he was flabbergasted when he first heard that the Virgin Trains deal had not gone through, but he was experienced enough to know that he should take some time to settle down and collect data instead of letting his feelings take control of him.
Had he made a statement to the press out of frustration or demanded to sue the British government solely out of instinct rather than fact, he would have increased the likelihood of having his case dismissed and appearing reckless.
It’s just as bad to act on a positive emotion. Give decisions you’re considering enough time to lose the influence of your first impressions.
Branson carefully considers everything that could go wrong before he goes forward with a decision.
Regarding the rail case, Branson’s lawyers initially told him he had a 10% chance of winning a case against the government. But after collecting proof that some numbers in his competitor’s deals were off, he was convinced he had truth and customer support on his side.
“Nothing is perfect, so work hard at uncovering whatever hidden warts the thing might have and by removing them you’ll only make it better still,” he writes.
Before he makes a decision, Branson takes a look at how it will affect his other projects in both the short and long term.
“This one may be a ‘too good to miss’ opportunity but how will it affect other projects or priorities and, if now is not the best time to do it, what risks if any are there in putting the thing on hold for an agreed period of time? If you cannot manage this project in addition to another that’s waiting in the wings, which one gets the nod and why?” he writes.
Branson writes that one of the best examples of ignoring the bigger picture is when Carnival Corporation’s chairman and CEO Mickey Arison decided to go to a Miami Heat basketball game on the same day that one of his company’s cruise ships sank off the coast of an Italian island in 2012, killing 32 and injuring many others.
Branson says Arison further tarnished Carnival’s and his own reputation when he behaved similarly less than a year later when a ship ran out of fuel and left its passengers five days at sea without running water or power.
In a LinkedIn blog post from earlier this year, Branson writes that the best lesson his father ever taught him was to protect the downside; that is, limit possible losses before moving forward with a new business venture.
Branson’s father told him that he would allow him, at age 15, to leave high school and start Student magazine only if he sold 4,000 pounds’ worth of advertising to cover printing and paper costs.
It’s a strategy he repeated in 1984 when he made a huge leap from the music business into the airline business with Virgin Atlantic. He was only able to convince his business partners at Virgin Records to agree to the deal after he got Boeing to agree to take back Virgin’s one 747 jet after a year if the business wasn’t operating as planned.
These four simple guidelines can become habit, whether you’re about to approach a prospective client or sue the British government.
SEOUL, South Korea — The world’s biggest smartphone maker is suffering a stunning financial decline in the face of intense competition from Apple and startup Chinese brands.
In a preview to earnings due out this month, Samsung said Tuesday its quarterly profit is estimated to have fallen to its lowest level in more than three years, dragged down by weak sales of its new Galaxy model. Samsung became the biggest smartphone brand on the popularity of earlier Galaxy models. But the bigger screen on Apple’s new iPhone 6 is luring away Americans who liked the bigger Galaxy, while in China, local brands are making inroads into Samsung’s business.
Analysts have repeatedly cut forecasts of Samsung’s profit this year as Galaxy sales lagged behind expectations. They say earnings in the quarter ending in September could suffer their biggest decline in Samsung’s recent history.
In Tuesday’s report, Samsung said the median forecast of July-September operating income was 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion). That was below the median of analysts’ expectations of 5.2 trillion won, according to FactSet, a financial data provider. It would be a 60% plunge from record-high 10.2 trillion won a year earlier.
The decline in Galaxy sales has hurt demand for Samsung components such as advanced OLED display. High marketing costs are undermining profits.
“The operating margin declined due to increased marketing expenditure and lowered average selling price,” Samsung said in a statement. The company said it “cautiously expects increased shipments of new smartphones and strong seasonal demand for TV products.”
Analysts say the bigger iPhones released last month will likely take away American customers who favored the Galaxy’s bigger screens. In emerging markets such as India and China, Samsung’s smartphone sales were overtaken by local rivals.
Samsung estimated sales for the July-September period declined 20% from a year earlier to 47 trillion won ($44.2 billion). That was slightly below analysts’ expectations of 50.4 trillion won.
In January, analysts estimated Samsung’s third quarter operating income would exceed 10 trillion won. That expectation has been steadily lowered to about half this month. Quarterly profit from its mobile business, which reached 6.7 trillion a year earlier, is forecast to be a little over 2 trillion won.
The company needs to revamp its handset designs, said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities Co.
“Rather than seeking stability, Samsung should seek to distinguish (its phones) with Galaxy’s design policies,” he said.
“The iPhone 6 will be a significant threat to Samsung.”
The company moved the launch of the Galaxy Note 4, a large smartphone with a stylus, to late September from October after Apple unveiled the iPhone 6. It also began sales of the Galaxy Note 4 in China last month, getting an early start in the world’s most populous country before Apple.
Last month, Samsung also received upbeat initial responses to its Galaxy Note Edge smartphone, a smartphone with a curved side screen that can display weather, news, apps and other information. But the supply volume for the Edge smartphone will be limited, likely not giving a big boost to its earnings, analysts said.
With growth momentum in smartphones sagging, Samsung is moving to step up its presence in the semiconductor business.
This week, Samsung announced a 15.6 trillion won ($14.7 billion) investment plan to build a new semiconductor fabrication plant in the South Korean city of Pyeongtaek. The construction will begin before the summer next year and begin operations during the second half of 2017.
Samsung did not disclose net income or divisional earnings in its quarterly earnings preview.
As kids we tore breathtaking photos from travel magazines and glued them into scrapbooks or threw them on our walls. Today we share those photos on Pinterest, no glue sticks required. Though the medium has changed, the sentiment is the same— we’ve got serious wanderlust. Pinterest shared with Mashable the top most-pinned places on Earth. And while some are instantly recognizable (hello, Big Ben!), others, like Canada’s Abraham Lake, are lesser known.
See which destinations broke the top 30 based on more than 750 million place pins.
Most-Pinned Places On Earth
Collaboration. It’s not just a buzzword or a trend, it’s a way of working that is becoming more essential every day. But how do you master the skill and what habits should effective collaborators pick up?
Whether you’re working in a large company navigating a matrix organization or running a small business, in charge of collaborating with your entire ecosystem (customers, vendors, employees, etc.), how you collaborate can make or break your success. A key foundational element of effective collaboration is building trust, and these nine attributes are essential to becoming that trusted collaborator everyone loves to work with.
1. Be transparent. There is a difference between telling the truth and being transparent. Transparency is about telling the truth before you’re asked and divulging all the important information along the way. Transparency builds trust because people will never feel as though you’re keeping something from them.
2. Say what you are going to do and follow through. No one wants to collaborate with someone who drops the ball, even if it just happens on occasion. Good collaborators are effective at judging how long it will take them to get something done and then manage their schedule to deliver on time. They can be taken at their word and be counted on and because of that, people love working with them.
3. Allow for a little give and take.Collaboration isn’t about getting what you want all the time and everyone else collaborating for your benefit. A question great collaborators ask themselves is, “What am I contributing to this relationship and how am I supporting the greater good?” People will be more likely to collaborate to help you if you collaborate when they need help as well.
4. Listen to understand, not to respond. People like to be heard, and know their ideas and thoughts are being taken into consideration. In fact, that’s a key element of collaboration. If you want to be regarded as an effective collaborator, you need to ensure you’re listening (truly listening) to those you collaborate with and making changes when it makes sense based on their feedback.
5. Stick to your guns. Great leaders and great collaborators are passionate about their work and know what a successful outcome looks like. They also frequently have high standards and morals that they stick to. Both of these attributes make them exciting to work with. When it comes to what you know needs to be done, or what your moral compass is telling you, make sure you don’t compromise and take the easy way out. Stick to your guns and do what you know is right, and you’ll earn much respect along the way.
6. Know which battles to fight. Life isn’t about being right 100% of the time, and effective collaborators know this and because of that, will let go in areas where they could ‘take it or leave it’. Just because you prefer A over B, doesn’t mean you should always fight for A. Look for areas where other people are super passionate and compromise when possible.
7. Be authentic.People expect you to be real, but it’s worth repeating. In order to be an effective collaborator, you have to know who you are, what you stand for, and how your talents, beliefs, values, etc. will benefit the challenge at hand. Others will appreciate your feedback, and trust that you’ll always give honest feedback.
8. Be kind. There’s a lot to be done; we get it. However, it’s important to remind yourself that there is a way to get things done without making enemies along the way. People work harder, smarter, faster when they like who they are working with so if you want to drive optimum efficiency and effectiveness, be kind to those you want to (and need to) collaborate with.
9. Step up.Collaboration isn’t about doing the bare minimum, but occasionally going above and beyond in unexpected ways. When people know you’ll step up when needed, collaboration is much easier.
The world is full of mysterious monuments, each brimming with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of years of history. Ancient stone walls, mosaic-tiled floors and ornately painted ceilings adorn some of the most fascinating places around the globe. Though each offers a unique experience, it’s impossible to visit them all. So, which wanderlust-worthy landmarks should adventurous travelers add to their bucket lists?
Trip Advisor shared the world’s top-rated landmarks based on millions of traveler reviews. Mark these awe-inspiring destinations on your travel maps for future reference.
Over the last 50 years, theater producer Michael White has befriended the very top of the A-list. Now, at age 78, his life story is being told to those unable to get beyond the velvet rope in the new documentary, “The Last Impresario.” To promote the film, which hits theaters in the U.K on Sept. 26, White has opened up his personal photo album, filled with candid snapshots of the who’s who of Hollywood, fashion and the recording industry. It’s simply a must see: