Vets, Urban Unemployed, Returning Workers targeted for solar panel installation industry job training

solar panel

In 2013, I wrote an eBook summarizing the Obama administration’s foreign policy treatment towards sub-Saharan African nations. In it, I hypothesized that US support for those nations’ usage and exploitation of alternative renewable energy sources to power homes would have dual purposes.

One, it would enable rural townships, cities, and villages to get much needed electricity to power homes, and businesses in regions where it would be cost-prohibitive to build out terrestrial and traditional electricity power grids. A second goal would be to establish a standard for success that the administration could use to show how renewable energy skeptics that alternative sources of fuel and energy is the future.

We see some of these predictions coming true.

Where I live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, my local power company has seen a 115% increase in customers using solar power windows.  Nationwide,  since President Obama took office, installed solar power has increased 13-fold, topping nearly 16 gigawatts today – enough to power the equivalent of 3.2 million average American homes. As solar energy continues to grow, it is becoming a major source of high-paying American jobs – employing nearly 143,000 full-time professionals  in 2012.

And earlier this month,  the President visited an Air Force base outside Salt Lake City to announce a relatively new program called “Solar Ready Vets” that trains veterans to size and install solar panels on their military compounds, in the hopes of imparting skills applicable to a rapidly growing sector of the economy.

The program will train vets at 10 military bases across the country.  Hill Air Force Base in Utah already has onsite installed solar panel training.  The next three bases to join the program will be California’s Camp Pendleton, Colorado’s Fort Carson and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

“That’s how we’re going our keep our economy growing, and how we’re going to create new jobs,” the President said at the Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

The administration’s goal is to get 75,000 Americans trained in solar panel industry by 2020.

At no cost to the participants, they took a 4-6 week training course where they learned to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid and make sure they meet industry standards.  The programs are supported by area community colleges that surround the bases. 

The equipment is the kind used in today’s marketplace donated by the private sector.  G.I. Bill funding will also be made available to support solar workforce training for veterans.

All 20 Marines who finished the training program on February 13 received at least one job offer from the five major U.S. solar firms who are conducting recruiting as part of the program, Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said during the call with reporters.

It’s proof that it is a growth sector needing qualified and trained workers. Also, consider the backlog for installation in many communities nationwide.

On a call before the president’s speech,  I asked about high unemployment areas and whether they will be included in the program . Sherwood-Randall confirmed  that the military is not the only target demographic to benefit from the training program.

Exiting military vets are but one of three communities targeted for training:   other communities struggling with high unemployment such as those in urban and inner cities; and  older and more seasoned workers returning to the workplace may also benefit and are included in the target goals.

That’s double good news! The next challenge will be getting those in these communities to learn about the opportunity and take advantage of getting training for the next 21st century growth industry!

The entire effort is also tied to reducing emissions.  This solar push should lead more Americans to use less fossil fuels that create byproducts. The administration is looking to slash total emissions by 28% in the coming decade.

Good stuff!

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6 Ways Social Media Sites may be stealing from Users, Bloggers & Advertisers

Guest Post

social media

A recent study on The Statistics Portal have shown that the average American spends 11 hours per day on digital devices with over three hours spent on social media sites. In most cases, consumers are not being paid for their time.

 Facebook has set a worldwide record making $2.24 billion in revenue per user in Q2/2014, and in the US and Canada, that number nearly tripled to $6.44 (Facebook). With nearly 1.3 billion users worldwide (Users), how much has Facebook paid back their users? How much has each of their users made for their time spent in giving Facebook their wealth?

 Jenny Q. Ta, Founder and CEO of Sqeeqee.com, the first-ever Social Networthing® site designed to allow users to monetize their daily social media activities in unprecedented ways, gives six ways social media giants like Facebook, are robbing consumers blind every day:

1)   Where there is smoke, there is fire. While Google may not be considered a social media network, Google+ is and is packaged under the Google brand. With pending cases like Hagens Berman filed against Google and other claims that Google is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from AdSense accounts, how can consumers not be thinking twice about what Google actually pays their users? Since Google doesn’t disclose the number of AdSense or AdWords users they have, consumers are not able to tell how much Google has taken from them. Google’s net worth stands at approximately $350 billion dollars, you would think with that kind of money they could at least give consumers a legitimate way to monitor their use in comparison to what they’re being paid (if any at all).

2)   Don’t let history repeat itself. It is obvious that time is money. As social sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are growing by the billions, their users are lagging behind. Television stars are making residuals for reruns consumers are seeing on television. Musicians are getting paid when their music is played on the radio. Why shouldn’t consumers get paid for spending their time on social media sites while in turn giving such a brand it’s worth? It makes absolutely no sense for companies like Facebook and Google to be raking in billions and not giving anything back to their users when it’s the users who are the television stars and the musicians here.

3)   Sites aren’t spreading the wealth. It is humorous to think users who spend their time and money to take some of the most beautiful photos in the world share them for free on social media sites. Imagine where Instagram would be if there were no photos to be shared? Celebrities like Justin Beiber benefit from sharing their photos because consumers share them and unwittingly make him more money. How about a regular John Doe with that viral photo, story, or video? How much do they get paid? Sure, they might get their 15 minutes of fame, but does it pay for their internet connection, that iPhone they may have used to take that photo, or that camcorder that was used to record that video? Imagine a world where consumers are being paid for every “like” they click, every photo they’re sharing, and every story that goes viral. It would be a whole new world of wealth for the consumers worldwide.

4)   Pay-For-Play. If we take a closer look at today’s social media growth statistics, users are growing by the second. For every like, click, link, search, post, tweet, etc. that consumers are doing, their data is being tracked for free, their privacy is taken, and such information is sold to third parties where someone else is making money from it. That is no different than allowing a burglar to go into your home and start taking your valuables and selling them. Where would social media be if there were no users, no clicks, no likes, no links, no searches, no postings, no tweets? It wouldn’t exist. Therefore, users and consumers are a valuable commodity that should be compensated for the things they do online to offset the expenses they’re paying (time, mobile devices, internet connections, etc.). It’s a simple formula and consumers/users should be educated to take what is owed to them.

5)   Unclear Advertising Model - Companies from Facebook and Twitter, to Google tout their advertising models, but none really offers detailed information on how such models are effective to the advertisers. An advertiser can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on social media platforms and they wouldn’t know how effective each campaign has been in driving additional businesses to their website (or whatever they’re trying to advertise).

6)   Unclear PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns - Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter offer advertisers different forms of PPC, however, one wouldn’t know which users (real or fake) would click on your campaign. Facebook claims to have 1.5 billion users, however, of those users, 5.5% to 11.2% are fake accounts (fake), which means 82.5 million to 168,000,000 million users are fake. If these fake users are the ones doing the “PPC” on your campaigns, then it would have been better to shred those advertising dollars. As of this article dated April 4, 2014 Twitter has about 4% of fake accounts (twitterfake).

About Jenny Q. Ta:

Jenny Q. Ta is the founder and CEO of Sqeeqee, the first-of-its-kind Social Networthing™ site.  Launched in 2015, the site gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, and non-profit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles in unprecedented ways. Ms. Ta is a seasoned entrepreneur with two successful ventures to her credit.  She was the Founder and CEO of Titan Securities, a full service investment firm that was acquired in 2005.  Prior to founding Titan Securities she was the driving force behind Vantage Investments, a full-service broker-dealer start-up she founded in 1999 at the age of 27 and grew to a quarter of a billion dollars in assets. Overall, she has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in sales, marketing and finance.

Jenny earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Financial Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from California State University,

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PEW Report: Smartphone-Dependent people can’t live without their phones, literally

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Smartphones make their owners feel “productive” and “happy.” That was one of the takeaways from PEW Research Center‘s annual Smartphone usage report. While many reported positive experiences with their smartphone, it isn’t all rosy.  Of those surveyed, 57% of smartphone say their smartphones make them feel  “distracted,” and 36% expressed feeling “frustrated” by their smartphone encounter.

What’s the Demo of the Smartphone-dependent?

The report analyzes the sector of the American public who rely on smartphones as their only means of regularly accessing the Internet. These “smartphone dependent Americans” tend to be young from lower incomes and education and also non-whites.

Additionally, smartphone-dependent users are less likely to have a bank account and to have health insurance. They also are more likely to rent rather than own a home.

They also know the pain of getting cut off.  Researchers found that close to half of smartphone-dependent users had to cancel their cell phone service for a period of time because of financial hardship.

As can be expected this group of smartphone-dependent people also max out on their data plans. The survey found that 30% of smartphone-dependent Americans reach the maximum data amount allowed on their plans.

Almost 2/3 of Americans or 64%  today own smartphones,, an increase from 35% in 2011.  However, for some, it is a lifeline as well. The report found that 10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home. It also noted that 15% of Americans own a smartphone;  but have limited number of online-options besides their cell phone.

People still call?

The report showed how integral mobile devices are to Americans’ daily lives, especially for young adults. Interestingly, while texting is a prevalent feature for young adults, they still use their smartphones for basic calling, the report noted.

The report found that close to 100% of smartphone owners use text messaging, by far the most predominant feature of the device.

However, email remains a prominent activity in the smartphone era. Some 88% of smartphone owners used email.

What else are people using their phones for?

Another interesting fact from the report is that lower-income smartphone owners use their phone during a job search the most frequently. Households that earn less than $30,000 annually are nearly twice as likely to use their phones for this purpose as households that earn $75,000 or more annually.

But the smartphone-dependent are using their devices for a lot of life planning and daily functions too:

  • The report found that 62% of smartphone owners use their phone to access information about a health condition;
  • 57% of smartphone owners use their phone to do online banking;
  • 44% use their phone to look up real estate listings; and
  • Notably, three-quarters of younger owners rely upon their phone to access information about a health condition.
  • A majority of owners use their phone to track breaking news, provide driving directions, and assist with public transit.  These behaviors span diverse age groups. 40% of smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone to keep up with the news.

Smartphones help their owners get to their destinations: 67% use their phone for “turn-by-turn navigation,” and 25% use their phone to gather public transit information. There is a racial divide there too.  The report also noted that African Americans and Latinos access public transit information at higher rates than Whites.

The depth of information show the importance of increasing broadband in the home. It also draws attention to the need for flexibility in pricing plans and options to empower the smartphone dependent to be able to stay connected to the device that provides so much utility and resource to them.

 

READ MORE: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/

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50+ SEO Resources & Tools for Content Marketers

50seotoolsandresources

Wading into SEO for the first time can feel terribly overwhelming. Who do you listen to? Where should you go for insight and information? Certainly not those who claim SEO is dead or irrelevant. To make your transition into SEO easy and to give you the…

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How Social Media Embeds disrupted the Paparazzi business

paparazzi

[BACKGROUND: Ever so often, I am inspired to blog about a topic, but don’t have time to research, write and offer a more comprehensive treatment to a complex topic. So,  I will just do a quick voice note – kind of like a podcast and share it on my social media pages. This time, my quick note about how the relatively new social media embed function has disrupted the paparazzi business model triggered a request for a transcription so here it is. The voice note, followed by the words uttered within it. Feel free to comment or share your perspective of viewpoint below.]

TRANSCRIPTION:  I thought by now someone would have done a quick blog post, or article or vlog about how the embed technology or embed option in a lot of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and Instagram has essentially disrupted the paparazzi business and the business of professional photographers that take candid unauthorized portraiture of celebrities as they walk about and go about their daily day.

But I did a quick search because I wanted to include such an article in a piece that I was working on and discovered that I couldn’t find one so I I’ll just speak to it quickly in this little voice note and maybe do the research myself but in a nutshell the thesis is that before paparazzi websites like IMF and Getty and Splash News and the other ones would charge news outlets that are online like US Weekly and PEOPLE Celebrity Babies and PopSugar and all the various different sites like E!Online that do a lot of celebrity coverage and would charge a pretty penny, not that much, but it could add up to use their pictures on their website. And those who did not, they came after them with a vengeance and would threaten to sue them and tried to get various different monetary recovery from these bloggers and gossip bloggers, which at this point, I think number the millions, possibly.

But what happened though is we see an evolution where a company like Getty, for example, realized it was no longer economically feasible or economically efficient to spend money hiring lawyers to chase down millions of gossip bloggers for using their images and knowing good and well that a lot of those bloggers weren’t making money, didn’t have money and even if they sued and got a recovery, they weren’t going to get money so essentially it was just for the principle.

 So what Getty did, I think last year, was decided to make the embed option where you could use the picture so long as you use the embed function and that way Getty would get the credit and at least get the value of that link back from all these different bloggers using their images and linking back to the Getty site and they would perhaps put ads on their site and get money that way.

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 I’m not sure how that is working out for them, but what that did do is open up the market,  acknowledgment and awareness even among the larger sites that they no longer needed to spend a large part of their budget buying paparazzi images and all they needed to do was follow all of the celebrities that they cover, generally, on Twitter and Instagram  and pick it up from there.

Because Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all those other popular social media sites have terms of service agreements which say essentially that when you put your image on our site you are giving us permission to allow the functionality that would enable people to share it and share it through embed. So when they do an embed, it’s not necessarily a violation of copyright if they just embed it on their sites using our service.

So you have all these sites now foregoing the costs and foregoing the expenditures of paying for celebrity images and just using the images the celebrities update themselves. And it’s symbiotic because celebs need those images, even though they say paparazzi are annoying, and they are lots, for the most part, but if they didn’t care about you, if you weren’t relevant or if you weren’t in the news or you weren’t worthy, they wouldn’t follow you. So…by them taking the picture and then celeb rags putting it in the magazine, essentially, it keeps people interested and people saying if they’re following you, they must be following you for a reason because people are always interested in what’s hot and what’s new and what everyone else is interested in so just in that cycle of things, it makes sense for you to want your images in these things.

 So now rather than having to forego your privacy, you, as the celebrity, can take control by putting the images you want to see in the magazines online in social media and it would get picked up that way.

And you see a lot of it, and it’s going on actively, and now lesser known blogs, and gossip blogs doing it as a hobby and who don’t necessarily have the money to pay for pictures also now can benefit from continuing their celebrity coverage  and just using the embed option and embedding images on their sites versus just stealing a picture from a major site and taking the risk that the photographer or the company that the photographer takes pictures for won’t come after them with a copyright suit.

So anyway, there you have it. And I’m sure if someone does  the research and looks into it, they’d notice or take note or actualize that there has been a drop in revenue for paparazzi and some of them because of what Getty decided to do may also have to follow suit and be creative in getting their money because a lot of bloggers are just using Getty images because they know Getty’s not coming after them so once you know that they may feel more free to go with their service and use their embed option and post Getty pictures versus others.

—-END TRANSCRIPTION—–

 

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How incumbent BIG Internet companies control the Digital Economy

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Even though the internet as we know it is not even 25 years old yet, it’s been a robust industry long enough for there to be major incumbents with market and monopoly-like influence and power.

The new digital economy is set up so that there are more opportunities for everyone and anyone who has the drive and interest to set up shop, grow customers and audiences and succeed. It is a traditional pyramid however, where BIG Internet edge provider companies who are the gatekeepers hold the power and are essential for a rising digital company to excel. The big Industry players at the top can single-handedly pull a plug and disrupt rising digital entrepreneurs and startups.

In digital publishing industry, for example, it only takes a terms of service violation, some third party filing a copyright or defamation complaint against your site for it to get pulled off of a platform like Tumblr or Blogger. A hosting company can use a delayed payment to yank your business offline, thereby destroying your reputation and causing lost sales.

Last October 2014, Google took down the blog of the most popular Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, after someone complained she used his public tweets about Boko Haram without permission. It was restored about a day later but not after the outage contributed to tons of damage to her reputation and she suffered lost page views.

If a website violates one of Google’s unpublished principles of authenticity or value, it could be dropped in rank which strips the site of any good will it has built and buries it on page 5 or higher in search.

And even if you follow the rules, if your company turns out to be competing with a big industry gatekeeper like Twitter, you could become victim to anti-competitive activity.

Consider the case of video streaming social media app Meerkat. It just launched at South by Soutwest four weeks ago but just got kicked off of Twitter’s social graph. Why? Because Twitter invested in a competing service Periscope that does essentially the same thing as Meerkat.

Now, Periscope has the edge because of its favorable relationship with Twitter. It’s easier to find friends with Periscope because of this move and now the 4-week old Meerkat has to start from scratch and do the same thing.

And so while normally, whomever builds the platform first wins all the loyalty of early adopters (see Vine v. Instagram Video) being able to access friends who are not on the platform matters even more. (see Facebook v. Google Plus and every other attempt to usurp Facebook’s social media reach)

Therefore, of the two services, the one which has that integrated relationship will more likely be more favored by users. People don’t want to have to rebuild circles. followings and friends lists that took them years to curate. Incumbents know that and know that’s what gives them the edge over newcomers.

It is quite ironic because in the Net Neutrality debate, its proponents had decided that traditional Broadband and Media companies were too big to be trusted and in sum, seemed to have used the FCC to impose strict regulations on that industry to make sure they don’t discriminate against non-affiliated companies.

All the while….ignoring the fact that BIG Internet is  running our digital economy without any government restrictions or controls interfering with their ability to flex market dominance  or make it harder for a competitor to succeed. Perplexing!

Active members in this robust Internet ecosystem who are on the lower rungs of the hierarchy are well aware and wary that their biggest fear isn’t from an ISP slowing down content but from other Big internet player with much more relevant muscle power that can yank their content and services from relevancy altogether.

The free market economy is disrupted when there are preemptive controls put in place before evidence of market failure. 

Perhaps, users will keep Meerkat but we must wait and see. 
 
It’s  uncool to have winners and losers picked depending on which industry is deemed hipper from PR branding perspective 
 
The Uber and Airbnbs of the world are indeed disrupting traditional models but there is room in the market for both and the rabid demonization of the old players in unnecessary. For true fair competition and the market to work, there should be parity on all fronts.
 
In the net economy, it’s still too soon to stifle it. 

 

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4 Principles for Staying Cool Under Pressure

 Guest Post

stay cool

We all ask ourselves the same desperate question from time to time:

How am I going to make this work?!

“No matter how well we’ve done laying the groundwork for everything to run smoothly – becoming educated, choosing the right spouse, treating others well — we all face situations that challenge us,” says Dr. Robert J. Cerfolio, a world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon. “If we can keep our cool and adhere to some basic principles, we can not only meet any challenge – we can perform with excellence.”

 Cerfolio, author of “Super Performing at Work and at Home: The Athleticism of Surgery and Life,” (www.superperforming.com), shares the principles that helped him through that greatest of all challenges and lesser ones along the way.

“Apply these principles in work, sports and life in general, and you can become a super performer,” he says.

1. Pressure equals opportunity. It’s when something matters that the pressure starts to build; this is where the rubber meets the road for sports-to-life analogies.

“In sports as in life, remember your training; follow through just like you did during practice; visualize success; believe it will happen,” Dr. Cerfolio says. “With friends, for example, high-pressure moments can be those times when they need you. The best way to have great friends is to be a great friend.”

2.  Strive to hit .400 every year – keep your eye on the prize; write it down. “My high school gave out an award each year to the best student athlete in each grade,” he says. “I wrote down that I wanted to win the Klein Award in the ninth, 10th and 11th grades, and to win the most prestigious award at the senior graduation, the Deetjen Award.”

He accomplished most of those goals, and a key to those achievements was writing them down and placing the paper where, for four years, he could see it every night.

“By writing them down, I had made my goals clear and objective,

3. Lean toward a “we-centered” ego rather than a “me-centered” one. “When I traded in my baseball uniform for surgical scrubs, I noticed the importance of stripping the many layers of the ego I once had,” Dr. Cerfolio says. “This is really important: Your ego doesn’t need to be visible to everyone — or even anyone but yourself.”

Being a top performer requires ego – it helps fuel self-confidence and provides some of the motivation necessary to achieve. But it should not hinder the performance of your team: your coworkers, friends and family. Over time, by keeping your ego to yourself, it becomes easier to enact a team-oriented ego, rather than a “me-oriented” one.

4. Time to quit? Rub some dirt on it. In life, work is unavoidable, so embrace it, go big, and appreciate the rewards. No matter how difficult the challenge you face or how much it may hurt to meet that challenge, push through and give it your all.

“Yes, there’s a chance you won’t succeed, or won’t succeed to the degree you’d like. But you stand zero chance of success if you don’t meet that challenge and give it everything you’ve got,” Dr. Cerfolio says. “You owe it to yourself and your team, whether that’s your ball team, your family team or your work team. When you sign up for any team, by definition you promise your time, effort and 100 percent commitment. You have to be at every game and every practice on time and ready to go.”

Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA, is the James H. Estes Family Endowed Chair of Lung Cancer Research and Full Professor Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. 

 

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How to transform employees’ emotions into success in business

 

emotions

Emotion, more than anything else, spells the difference between stellar and mediocre team performance. Fear and negativity keep a team stuck in old patterns, while optimal emotions have the power to sharpen minds and spark breakthrough innovations.  It is a primal factor that can literally fire up or flatten and dampen the individual creativity or each and every person involved. The outcome of the way emotion is handled by a leader determines whether the organization innovates and solves problems creatively and consistently.

In the new book Primal Teams team leadership expert Jackie Barretta, shares what she has learned leading large organizations through challenging times and major transformations.

“Trying to eliminate undesirable emotions the people on your team is like trying to blow the spots off a leopard, Barretta says. “Not only does the leopard keep its spots, but it gets so upset it may bite the hand that feeds it. The spots are primal, woven deep into the leopard’s nature. The same goes for your team’s emotions.”

“Leaders can deal with emotion in ways that generates trust, mutual respect, and even devotion.  When they act positively and deliberately to embrace emotion, they can have a huge influence on a group’s ability to innovate and adapt.”

Primal Teas offers insights and unique practical advice on how to turn fear and negativity into positive change. Here are some examples of the many ideas the book offers regarding the most important actions leaders can take to inspire an unprecedented level of performance:

  1. Make Room for Negativity

Highly engaged employees form deep emotional attachments to their work. When resources they need are not available or a project doesn’t go as planned, they naturally experience strong negative emotions. These emotional responses are primal and occur before their cognition can intervene. If leaders don’t make it okay to express negativity, employees will tamp down their emotions by reducing their emotional engagement with their work. The intense release of emotion also helps employees process through the negativity, and it can spark the entire team from lifelessness to alertness.

  1. Enliven the Positives

Our brains naturally respond rapidly and powerfully to the scary, negative stuff. To build a positive work environment, leaders have to make the positives emotional enough to push aside the fear. Strategic plans and revenue charts, no matter how compelling or upward-trending, can never fire up our emotions as much as a compelling story about how the team’s work improves lives. The more vividly you can describe the positive impact of your work on peoples’ lives, the more you will populate your team-mates’ conscious minds with emotionally positive thoughts that spark peak performance.

  1. Loosen the Rules to Unleash Teamwork

Resist the urge to impose restrictive rules in your team. When people feel trusted, the chemical oxytocin surges in their brains, and they become more cooperative, more generous, and more caring with their team-mates. Make this your motto: “Expect people to do the right thing, without the need for a lot of rules.” This practice visibly lights up a team. It resonates. And it gets results. When people feel trusted, they act more trustworthy.

  1. Take a Break and Play Around

Spontaneous play makes a team feel positive and aroused. It also fuels their primal emotional systems, ensuring keen motivation and emotional resilience. Optimal play feels fun and pleasurable, the way you feel after a rousing game of Nerf dodge ball or ping pong. To increase the creative problem solving of your team, have them take a break and play after they’ve explored all possibilities and reached an impasse. This gives their minds a needed respite that will help them come up with aha! answers to challenging problems.

  1. Cultivate the beginners mind

Help your team approach each situation with freshness and novelty, so they can continuously come up with better solutions. Get into the habit of exposing your whole team to different perspectives, urging them to look at an old familiar situation or problem as if they had never encountered it before. Try putting your team in the shoes of their end user, or stir up novel insights by shifting responsibilities, or challenge their deeply-rooted assumptions. Help them let go of the idea that so-called experts know it all. This will keep their emotions aroused, open them up to fresh ideas, and make them more inclined to offer their own ideas.

Good luck!


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5 steps to growing your Social Media fan base

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Developing a fan base on social media doesn’t happen overnight. There are a number of critical components to getting your company noticed on social media quickly and effectively. Jenny Q. Ta, entrepreneur, social media expert and CEO of​ Sqeeqee.com, the first-of-its-kind Social Networthing™ site, offers five critical tips for growing your fan base on social media:

1.      Get In Front of People – Think of the digital world as the gateway drug to then getting in front of your fan base at like-minded events and conventions.  Press the flesh, meet your fan base, then kick back out digitally and this is how you reach amplification.

2.      Test, Test, Test – The best way to find out what works is to test your market with multiple messaging and find out.  For example, learn the art of the “dark post” on Facebook, which allows you to publish ads that don’t appear in your newsfeed.  You can test multiple different ads without wearing out your fan base on irrelevant content. You can also create a “lookalike audience” to test your ads against.

3.      Create Content – Whatever your business, you need to be the content player on the subject, so blog and post articles as often as you can, become a source for readers in your area of expertise.  You can always create your own blog, or contribute to great content sites like Medium.com where you can create a custom portfolio of your content and build a fan base interested in what you have to say.

4.      Give Thanks – Thank your customer base regularly. Find out what your fans care about by following their Twitter pages or content to discover what inspires them and reach out to them directly about their passions.  For example, if one of your followers is a Beatles fan, send a direct message about a new Beatles book.  By being consistent with giving thanks you will organically grow your fan base.

5.      Be Human on Twitter – Post relevant content on Twitter and do it consistently.  And it should come from YOU, not a pre-scheduled post.  People DO know the difference and nothing can replace the human interaction.

About Jenny Q. Ta: Jenny Q. Ta is the founder and CEO of Sqeeqee, the first-of-its-kind Social Networthing™ site.  Launched in 2015, the site gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, and non-profit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles in unprecedented ways. Ms. Ta is a seasoned entrepreneur with two successful ventures to her credit.  She was the Founder and CEO of Titan Securities, a full service investment firm that was acquired in 2005.  Prior to founding Titan Securities she was the driving force behind Vantage Investments, a full-service broker-dealer start-up she founded in 1999 at the age of 27 and grew to a quarter of a billion dollars in assets. Overall, she has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in sales, marketing and finance.

 

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The Brilliance of Netflix’s puppeteering on Network Neutrality:  But does it want what it won?

netflix-television

Something weird happened last week.

The Chief Financial Officer over at Netflix, the same company that led the charge for Network Neutrality told a room at an industry conference in Australia that his company really didn’t want the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the internet.

(http://reason.com/blog/2015/03/05/netflix-may-already-regret-its-support-f)

Say what now?

CFO David Wells essentially confessed that the only reason it pushed hard for Title II regulation was to promote its selfish commercial interest. Netflix only wanted government intervention after some ISPs were requiring it to pay for delivery of its massive swatch of content to customers.

(http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/netflix-cfo-pleased-with-fcc-title-ii-ruling-although-its-preference-would-have-been-no-broadband-regulation-1201446282/)

Indeed, this is the same company fighting for ISPs to not impose any unreasonable limits on broadband traffic. Yet Netflix just struck a deal that would exempt it specifically from data caps. What happened to champion the rights of everyone?! Hrmph!!  (http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/3/8142899/netflix-net-neutrality-flipfl)

Talk about promoting self interest! 

 Conflicting much?

Not really. This is purposeful, strategic and brilliant!  It is all about using what you got: clout, brand loyalty (everyone loves “House of Card“) and a very confused pop culture market that loves a good slogan and will quickly rally in a fight for the little guy ! Rah! Rah! ( “Internet …Start Ups…Neutrality!”)

(See this summation in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrydownes/2014/11/25/how-netflix-poisoned-the-net-neutrality-debate/)

Only Netflix isn’t quite little and neither its co-conspirator parties in this game.

For example, a week after helping Netflix win Title II at the FCC, Etsy, for example announced it is seeking a $100M IPO. [Um...so that whole thing about going under and taking all these stay-at-home mom crafters was, what?,  a big lie]

(http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/04/investing/etsy-ipo/)

It all just seems like we’ve been duped no?

(At least this Opinion writer at Wired thinks so: http://www.wired.com/2015/03/fcc-better-call-saul/)

Here are some things to consider:

The concept of government take over of the Internet to ensure nothing bad happens in the future is not new and has been championed for many many years, but it all just gained sea legs in the past 5 years or so.

In 2010, Netflix got into a dispute over peering agreement it had with Comcast.

I was among many who figured out that one way Netflix could get better terms or diminish the power of internet backbone providers is to get the FCC to get involved and force their hand some.

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66_ANMHIAf0)

Their plan is genius, if you think about it: Get the FCC involved. Get it to stop the ISPs from leveraging so much power. Slow them down. Get influential allies that control content creators like the Hosting companies and Tumblr to force their members to send off letters to Congress or the FCC in order to be able to log in to their account. Then, use the numbers of these unwilling petitions under duress to make your claim that millions of Americans want this (as if they understand what “this” is)

Make the ISPs the enemy or even more of the enemy than they already are considered.Use influential consumer advocacy organizations to lead the charge. (oh and have them accuse minority organizations with different priorities as being sell-outs. That’s a good one)

It all was just in time too!

By 2011, a study of broadband traffic determined that Netflix took Up 32.7% of Internet Bandwidth.  Sandvine Intelligent Broadband Networks report analyzing 200 Internet service providers in 80 countries found that real-time entertainment apps account for 60% of peak downstream traffic, up from 50% the previous year.

It also found that Netflix has more than half of that share, with the peak hours for the traffic being between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., when people are home and watching series and movies off the net. 

Before the catch phrase “Network Neutrality” caught on to help a company force the FCC to help it gain leverage over contract opponents, there really was no need for it because there was/is so much diversity in content and the traffic that is delivered to residential customers via ISPs. If they were to degrade the quality of some over others, customer backlash could come in the form of them severing their contract and going with another service.

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/02/23/comcasts-deal-with-netflix-makes-network-neutrality-obsolete/)

Indeed, in recent years, cord-cutting has been a thing because the diversity in the video content delivery market has been so robust.

Now that the FCC has been convinced to adopt a heavy-handed regulatory approach, those involved are realizing quickly they may have been mistaken.

Even though the FCC has promised not to regulate interconnection agreements, truly ensuring parity would require that otherwise. That’s why the industry is skeptical.

As tech journo Jonathan Lee wrote in a Washington Post article about a Comcast-Netflix peering deal last year:

“But in a world where Netflix and Yahoo connect directly to residential ISPs, every Internet company will have its own separate pipe. And policing whether different pipes are equally good is a much harder problem than requiring that all of the traffic in a single pipe be treated the same. If it wanted to ensure a level playing field, the FCC would be forced to become intimately involved in interconnection disputes, overseeing who Verizon interconnects with, how fast the connections are and how much they can charge to do it.”

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/02/23/comcasts-deal-with-netflix-makes-network-neutrality-obsolete/)

Yup! There you have it.

(http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/13/net_neutrality_rules/)S

And the thing with the way the internet goes, a strong gale wind could cause someone’s connection to degrade some. Now, with Network Neutrality on the books as a win, the FCC can prepare to become the recipient of complaints over the 101 different reasons for less-than-perfect service — all reasons that won’t necessarily be because of net neutrality violations.

I can’t help but recall this SNL skit from a few weeks ago that sums up pretty well what Americans feel about this campaign of confusion:

Not about pornos….oh boy!

Here we go…..

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