Bloggers: The 7 Mistakes Stopping Your Growth

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Do you find that blogging is easy? It’s a pretty straight forward way to get started working online whether you’re interested in making money or simply having fun. But there are right ways to build a successful blog and there are wrong ways to blog and…

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CyberMonday: Those without in-home Broadband access miss out on savings/deals

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Just when we thought we knew of all the benefits of at home broadband, a new report indirectly reminds us of another benefit: Money-saving Internet-only deals during Cyber Monday.

This week, the affiliate marketing company  Skimlinks released a report featuring insights on the ways internet users make purchases from ads and links they happen upon while browsing their favorite websites.

It revealed that while consumers do a lot of clicking around using their mobile phones, at work especially, they are less likely to eventually convert those clicks into sales until they get home and can access their desktop computers.

Partially this is true because many merchants’ websites are not optimized for mobile browsing and to enable them to click the deal.

Another reason is that Internet users prefer larger screens  which can give them  a broader view of a website layout of an eCommerce site. To that end, tablets have the highest conversion rates with computer desktops coming in second and mobile phones a distant third.

This information is also illuminating for those working on increasing broadband access to more homes.

It’s well known that there are certain functions that are better done on a desktop with in-home broadband access: for school children needing to do school reports and homework, for the elderly and shut in for telemedicine or tele-triage when they cannot get to a doctor, and for job seekers needing to apply for work in the comfort privacy  of their personal home. In all these scenarios, private in-home access trumps a public computer at say, the library or a community center.

The Skimlinks report shows that those without in-home broadband also miss out on the chance to capitalize on deals that come with on-line shopping as many times the price for Internet purchases are substantially lower than in brick and mortar stores.

And those without in-home access are usually from lower-income households and should be getting the benefits of cost-savings on needed high ticket items.

Here are the other key findings from the report which can be accessed here:

  • Mobile phones account for over 20% of impressions and 18% of clicks among publishers…Yet, this device is only worth 10% of the sales volume driven by publishers
  •  Tablets have the highest conversion rate (3.87% on average), as well as the highest sales value proportionally with 11% of impressions vs 18% of sales value
  • Computers remain the preferred device with over 60% of clicks, sales and sales value
  •  In terms of publisher types, Blogs and Forums drive the most sales on mobile phones and tablets
  • Publishers in the categories of Lifestyle/Interest Groups and Technology are at the forefront of the mobile trend and the ones who drive the most commissions from mobile phones and tablets.

Efforts currently under way to change the Internet and how it is regulate, for the most part, fail to address looming access gaps that will force underrepresented communities further behind the eight ball of opportunities.

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In Future, Facebook will be mainly Video


If you think your Facebook feed has a lot of video now, just wait. “In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday during the company’s first community town hall, in which he took questions from the public on a range…

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How to avoid StartUp Burnout

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Tweet Small businesses and new startups don’t have the manpower (or the bottom line) to do things the way established businesses do. But they want the same things – growth, profits, and success. How do you get big results when you have a small workforce?…

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How the Internet Economy is like the Wide Open West

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It was only two years ago during the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai that the United States was leading allies to not vote to support any International Trade Union proposal that would enable authoritarian regimes to control the Internet.

At that time, we knew that the Arab Spring, and eventual subsequent citizen-inspired revolutions against tyrannical administrations were originating, festering and building steam in the unencumbered and Open Internet.

Oh what a difference a few years and interested lobbying makes because here we are at the genesis of the tech ecosytem revolution and we see calls for the US to do exactly what it was against back then – have the government seize control and impose draconian regs on some of those exploiting the business opportunities in web-based businesses.

Adopting the type of regulations that comes with Title II of the Telecom Act of 1996 is enabling the government to seize control of what is now a wide open frontier.

The concept of the Internet being an open frontier was presented to me again recently.

Recently, I opened up an email  from a consulting company that a law school classmate had recently launched.

Back in 1997, Chris Boam and I were candidates for the editor-in-chief job at our school’s telecommunications law journal, CommLaw Conspectus. He got the gig. I landed a Senior Notes and Comments Editor position. Over the past 20 years, he and I both have navigated over to the tech space.

When I first started to surf around his new company’s website, I noted that he has named his company 40A&M, after the very popular and well known phrase “40 Acres and a Mule,” which references the United States government’s efforts during the frontier days to encourage people to settle in the wide open planes of the midwest and west.

To entice prospectors, the government offered settlers 40 acres and a mule.

Forty acres and a mule is also the North’s General Sherman’s promise of dispensing the old slave-owned lands to former slaves as compensation for years they and their ancestors endured under harsh involuntary servitude days. (Over 40,000 former slaves got them, though they were promptly taken away shortly thereafter)

But, in his site’s explanation of the name of his company, Boam explained that the Internet is akin to those 40 acres and a mule and in this net economy, the opportunities and options are wide open for the taking.

And many early adopting web-based start ups like Google, Yahoo!, AOL, and later Netflix, Kickstarter et al did in fact profit well from staking their claims in the net’s broad plains.

The thing about the frontier is that there weren’t that many federal oversight in place restricting where and how communities built and formed.

Indeed as Boam writes:

He writes:

“For many, the advent of the Internet and the immense opportunities brought about by the advancement of communications has represented the newest frontier.  The opportunities to ‘stake your claim’ are endless.  The pitfalls, changing daily, are endless as well.  Today’s policies, written and debated in the confluence of these dynamic opportunities and pitfalls, have the potential to make or break tomorrow’s expectations online.”

And as such, we definitely can do without the types of policies that would weigh down cash-strapped entrepreneurs operating lean startups in the open internet frontier.

Rather, the best way for more people to harness the options available is for there to be adherence to the principles of Open access and Open Internet and not revert to archaic ways and regulatory frameworks like Title II.

image: courtesy gfi

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Old is New Again: 20 Upcycled Telephone Booths



With the advent of mobile telephones, the traditional telephone booth has become an iconc dinosaur of a by-gone era.

Over the past 15 years, British Telecom removed or decommissioned over 30,000 of the memorable red phone booths we’ve seen on London streets and in many movies too. In the US too, the phone booth has been on the decline.

Not all have been trashed or demolished, some have found innovative ways to “upcycle” old booths into pop-up businesses, for a new function or to transform them into extraordinary art pieces.


Here are 20 upcycled phone booths that Ansaback discovered and compiled into a handy graphic.


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For #Bloggers: The Secret to Writing Great Headlines


Your headline is your first impression – if it’s not compelling you’ve already lost most of your potential audience. On average only 20% of people will look beyond your headline. In the world of blogging you need to stand out and draw readers in. It…

photo courtesy: IsMaryLeon

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Treating the Internet like a utility could kill online discourse

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Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison (D) recently suggested that the government regulate the internet but is wrong on this proposal.

The veteran US House of Representative member recently said that “making Internet service a public utility would support social justice and economic equality in minority communities.”

Oh boy.

The Congressional Black Caucus member, who is also the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, invoked the Ferguson, Missouri protests over the killing of an unarmed black 18 year old teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson officer. Social media was instrumental to getting national attention to the incident.

Ellison told The Hill newspaper “Black communities would be some of the ‘hardest hit’ by the proposed ‘fast lanes’ rule” suggesting that calls to action and sharing of the protests in that town would not be made possible without a regulated internet.

I am always wary about evoking a tragedy and exploiting someone’s death to sell a policy point, and not really getting into any proposed “fast lanes”, I can say unequivocally that treating the internet like a public utility is a bad idea.

Having come from working in the private sector legal world where I represented companies which were regulated like a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, I know for certain that there is tremendous regulatory hurdles to complying with those regulations.

Just as many enterprising startups in the general market would not be financially or organizationally prepared to bear the added paperwork, filing, reporting, and legal costs burden to being subject to that law, neither would black-owned start ups and digital web-based businesses.

Similarly, the impact of added costs  could be detrimental to  bulletin board communities like Reddit and Lipstick Alley.   These community owners are like Amazon, Google,  and YouTube, which are also edge providers that offer content, services, and applications over the Internet.

For over a decade, sites like those, that could be considered “edge providers” subject to Title II, have cultivated and been the place where minority and a variety of voices can congregate and express dissension, critique, challenge, comment and exchange ideas.

Excessive challenges, regulatory paperwork and filing burdens and other requirements upon them other than servicing their audiences could have the very real effect of chilling content and causing more to shut down.

So Rep Ellison is quite wrong.

Treating the Internet like a public utility would serve to do the opposite and could silence minority voices not amplify them or make them easier to get their messages and concerns out.


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CBC asks why did CNN just fire most its black executives


Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia L. Fudge released the following statement on the impact large scale staff reductions at Time Warner Inc. will have on African American representation at CNN:

“News that Time Warner Inc. recently began large scale staff reductions is troubling. Particularly concerning are reports that these layoffs have significantly reduced the number of African Americans in senior and executive roles in the company’s flagship news organization, CNN.

“In a nation growing increasingly more diverse, it is imperative that the organizations tasked with keeping us informed reflect the same diversity. Ethnic sensitivity both on-camera and behind it demonstrates a corporate understanding of the benefits of diversity, and a genuine respect for the audiences’ needs.

“Any staffing changes that disproportionately cut the number of African Americans at CNN – intentionally or otherwise – are an affront to the African American journalism community and to the African American community as a whole. It is my sincere hope that these reports are not true, and that Time Warner Inc. works to ensure that the diversity of its viewers across the country, and the world, is reflected and protected in all areas of its organization.”

Why? Thoughts?

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But don’t many women agree with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella?

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya NadellaSpeaks At Company Event

Whenever a member of a disenfranchised, underrepresented or marginalized group calls out the privileged, empowered majority on how status quo suppresses, undermines and contributes to their oppression, you will often get one of several types of feedback from at least one member of said privileged class.

1. You all whine/complain too much. You always play the victim.

2. This is political correctness run amok. People should be able to say what they feel without needing to assuage the feelings of the hypersensitive, perpetually offended class of people.

3. There is no oppression. Everything is a meritocracy. Only the talented, capable and qualified are winning solely based on merit alone.

The responses to 1 to 3 are predictable, lazy replies from beneficiaries of unearned benefits who refuse to acknowledge that superficial things such as class, race, and being a member of the establishment help them advance; and that the cards are stacked in their favor. They are also aloof to the fact that language, policies and practices benefit them to the exclusion of minority groups and those not entrenched or part of status quo,

[e.g. Old boys' club, business as usual, how it's always been]

They have little understanding and empathy towards those who are on the outside looking in or underneath that glass ceiling.

Recently, after returning from a much-needed vacation, I got back into catching up on pop culture, policy and politics chatter. I bounced into the ongoing discussion over Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella‘s controversial statements made during a women conference.  The newly appointed Nadella had to back peddle from his incendiary comments this weekend  saying “it’s good karma” for women to patiently wait until the “system” rewards them with raises rather than pipe up and demand one.

Those who fall back on this intellectually de minimis  retort or think it is political correctness to have to back track really ought to ask themselves if they think men too ought to wait patiently to be recognized.

But too often, many women too prescribe to the type of thinking that says we should wait.

A few years ago, my good friend and I who launched our own online radio show was told by a mutual female friend that we were too boastful of our accomplishments. She found that we were too quick to sing our own praises.

Back then too, I thought that our mutual friend was among the type of women the statistics talk about.

You know the ones who would not apply for a job if they didn’t meet 100% of the qualifications while men would, even if they met 60% of what was required.

She was part of the gals who do not feel confident demanding higher salaries even though they deserve it.

She was one of the women Sheryl Sandberg was talking about when she advised women in corporate settings to “lean in” and take a seat at the main conference room table rather than the chairs that lined the periphery in the back.

Too many of us in corporate job settings are indeed waiting patiently to get recognized for our value and worth and to be rewarded, and think that’s the right way to do it.

So while we are lambasting a man for articulating a common corporate culture understanding and practice, we need to also be reminding women that too many of them [us] do, in fact, subconsciously or purposefully subscribe to the same thinking….and they [we]  need to break out of that constricting mentality.

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