Daily Archives: January 15, 2014

Even President Obama Thinks That Facebook Isn’t Cool Anymore


 

 

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Ask anyone under the age of 30 if they love Facebook. Chances are, the answer will be no.

 

The once dominant social network has most certainly fallen from its hyper-exclusive, hyper-popular beginnings to become the place where moms and uncles post their political opinions and baby pictures. (At least, I think. I haven’t been on Facebook in forever.)

 

In fact, Facebook has lost so much of its cool factor that even President Obama knows it.

 

As it turns out, the Atlantic’s associate editor covering tech Robinson Meyer happened to be sitting near Obama at a coffee shop, of all places, during a meeting the President was having to learn more about 18-34 year olds. The goal was to get more people in this demographic to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. For Meyer, the goal was to overhear the president say something relevant to his beat and — as it so happens — President Obama gave him a gem.

 

“It seems like they don’t use Facebook anymore,” said President Obama.

 

Meyer tries to get to the bottom of the President’s use of “they.” Perhaps it was the age group he was researching, between 18 and 34, or maybe it was the all-encompassing, third-person singular, gender-neutral pronoun, muses Meyer.

 

But we know who “they” is. It’s the cool crowd of teenagers and twenty-somethings that make social services popular to begin with.

 

Meyer’s eavesdropped interview also revealed that the president knows what Snapchat and Instagram are, though his interest and/or enthusiasm toward the up-and-coming social powerhouses is unclear.

 

What is clear is that Facebook has lost its swagger.

 

Since Facebook bought Onavo, which was one of very few services that could provide empirical data into this downward spiral, there is only one other service that can offer insight into the competitive landscape of Facebook and other social players.

 

According to App Annie, Facebook was ranked in the 50′s in downloads on the U.S. iTunes store. Meanwhile, Snapchat was ranked in the teens and even single digits. In August, some sort of algorithm change suddenly bumped Facebook into the teens as well. (App Annie told TechCrunch that it had “observed changes in the iOS App Store rankings around August” but refused to clarify whether Apple was the sole source of this shift for Facebook.)

 

Even at the current rank of 14th overall and 3rd in social, Facebook is still ranked lower than Snapchat (6th) and Instagram (11th). Instagram (arguably the coolest part of Facebook) is still ranked lower than Snapchat in Photo and Video categories.

 

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily paint a picture of a Facebook in trouble. The company is home to over 1 billion users, with the third most popular website on the internet behind Google and YouTube. Plus, this data actually proves that Facebook and Facebook Messenger are often downloaded by people when they buy new phones, showing the apps are still necessities.

 

But the cool kids are gone.

 

Facebook is no longer where we flirt with college classmates and spend hours posting photos. That use-case became nearly impossible when Facebook stopped being exclusively for college students and opened up to everyone. Inevitably, younger cousins and aunts and uncles and parents got on the platform. It started feeling more like a family reunion photo site than a hot social network.

 

And then, the generation that was champing at the bit to get on Facebook realized that their parents were champing at the bit, too. Instead of being a network full of 14- to 22-year olds, it became a network of 12- to 50-year olds.

 

Nowadays to the cool young kids, it’s an address book, with an email function, and perhaps the option to stalk if the person of interest doesn’t have Instagram. It’s a skeleton for all the other social apps we use, so signing up is easier and finding friends isn’t a repetitive process each time you download a new app.

 

Will Oremus hits the nail on the head. You can either have “everyone” or the cool kids, but you can’t have both.

 

Facebook has chosen everyone, and it makes sense — their business model depends on ubiquity. If you have everyone’s social data, you can sell ads about anything and convert. And up until recently, Facebook’s been wildly successful with this.

 

When Instagram posed a threat with 30 million super engaged and young users, Facebook instantly neutralized that threat with a cool $1 billion. After a shaky IPO, Facebook’s ad business is killing it.

 

But now up-and-comer Snapchat is posing a threat. Facebook first tried to fight it with a clone called Poke, which flopped, and then offered $3 billion to buy the app.

 

Snapchat, unlike other social competitors, is not reliant on Facebook at all, instead opting to use the Address Book for friend finding. Meanwhile, we’re seeing Instagram users rain down hellfire on Instagram ads as the once hip and cool photo-sharing app gets swallowed up, now a cog in the Facebook corporate machine.

 

With every day that passes, Facebook starts to look less and less like an Apple and more and more like a Dell. Luckily, there’s still no Apple on the horizon. While younger, hotter social networks spring up and solve problems, no one but Google has tried to make an all-encompassing social network to compete with Facebook. And we all know how that worked out.

 

Zuck is aware of all this. He admitted on an earnings call that Facebook is losing steam with teens, but that he’s more concerned with Facebook being useful than cool. And it still is useful.

 

The company will continue to see downloads, as it’s now necessary to have Facebook if you want to use other social apps. Facebook will continue to make money on ads (now that it knows everything about us) and Messenger will remain a truly popular tool among text-obsessed teens.

 

But things have changed. Obama even said so.

 

The cool kids are officially on the hunt for something else, and it’s only a matter of time before another Evan Spiegel pops up, too stubborn to take cash from Zuck, but this time with an all-purpose social network. And being young and VC-funded, this social network won’t show ads for years.

 

And, being different from the incumbent, it will become wildly attractive to teenagers and twenty-somethings.

 

But that’s way in the future. Right?

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/15/even-president-obama-thinks-that-facebook-isnt-cool-anymore/

Time Is Not Money Anymore. Data Is.


Why do businesses open a social media profile? Can you remember the reason why?

Usually it’s down to 3 core reasons.

  1. Their competitors are doing it. Or they’ve seen a case study of success.
  2. They want to save money on digital advertising/PPC and general ad spend.
  3. They want to create some kind of promotion.

The purpose has been lost in the mechanics of how social media works.

I would argue this immediately to say that the only purpose of creating any social profile, to create any content for a content marketing strategy would be based apon data collection. Data is the gold that businesses need more than anything else.

Back in 2001, I was working for a UK publishing startup (based in Boston, USA) and our single biggest outlay, outside of the 20 staff we hired or the office space we chose — was the subscription list for the magazine we were launching. That data (around 200,000 CEO’s, EVP’s, Owners) was then cleaned down through an opt in to about 50,000 c-level executives. That data then became the core selling point for the magazine.

Its Not Rocket Science, Its Just About Connecting The Dots, Understanding Your Customers and Optimising The Experience.

It’s not rocket science, simply that the readership and the subscription base sells the advertising space which was the single biggest revenue generator for the publication. Advertisers want the opportunity to get in front of that audience.

Today, businesses have got so caught up with “content marketing” or “social media marketing” that they’ve lost the purpose behind every campaign.

Data acquisition.

The brief, the creative idea and the strategy behind it should all have data acquisition at the core, but often that gets forgotten and data is either left out all together or a last minute add on.

So what is “purpose marketing”? It’s about the strategy, the brief, the creative idea and the execution all revolving around purpose. Create a single purpose and stick to it throughout the principles of digital marketing.

Often the purpose thats being defined continues to enhance the business strategy in the future — everything moves forward and evolves bit by bit.

Lets give you an example, i’ll try and keep this brief and to the point. For context we’ll talk about hotel marketing, but this could be related to any business that has customers.

  1. Lets say we’re starting a campaign, we’re a hotel and the programme is based on data acquisition, we want to acquire data from visiting customers to re-market to in the future.
  2. We allow free wifi in rooms and around the hotel in exchange for a room number confirmation & email sign up to opt in and receive future messaging around offers etc.
  3. Now we have an email address and a duration of stay we have sufficient information to start a conversation. We can link that back to the room number for a name and the price they paid for their stay.
Fawlty Towers — “When I asked you to build me a wall, I was rather thinking that instead of just dumping the bricks down in a pile, you might find time to cement them together one on top of the other in the traditional fashion”.

Usually, people will be paying different prices to stay in hotels. Which could vary massively. There is no point marketing an offer of £/$10 off to someone who paid a 1/3 less for a last minute dinner, bed and breakfast offer.

It’s about getting the right deal to the right people, with the right message at the right time.

Understanding The Customer.

So we have all the data we need. We know when the hotel was booked, through which site, what they paid, how long they stayed, their room bill, what they had for dinner and a lot of other information from their stay.

So, moving forward we’d act in a proactive way contacting them initially 3 months before they had previously booked with a matched (or even discounted further) rate on their previous booking. Taking into account additional money spent in the hotel (perhaps through room service, beauty treatments etc) we can determine which previous guests are high priority to give the right incentives to get them to rebook.

55% of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service

The purpose behind all this digging around the data is to get the guests back into the hotel. If you are a smaller hotel this may even get down to a handful of emails you can write personally, if it’s a larger hotel the sweetspot is the individualisation of the offer that you can put in front of the guest. How can you make them feel special, what can you do to give them a memorable experience. It could be something very small that makes the difference.

Don’t Worry — Big Brother isn’t watching right now, but if you had access to the data you capture — looked at it in the right way, with the right incentives, and the right context, you could instantly improve repeat business several times over.

It might all sound a bit “big brother” but the technology is and has been available for a long time. Social has a massive impact to businesses insights and data acquisition — but what gets forgotten even when people have all the data about customers, is how to use that data to improve customers experiences. It can go from florists to plumbers, luxury brands to B2B.

The right message at the right time, with the right call to action can produce amazing “feel good” results for your business. It doesn’t take a lot of work — it does take a lot of looking at data with the right eyes & the right attitude.

Thinking like: “Where are the opportunities, what are the insights, what do people need on top of what i’m providing & when can I give it to them?” It doesn’t even have to happen all the time, but when it does it makes a huge difference.

A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people

Customers (and this applies to B2B too) have more information, more choice and more power than they’ve ever had before. Before buying anything they can research it thoroughly online finding other people that have used your product/service, they can make informed decisions, ask experts, get advice and be empowered. That empowerment leads to influence. You as a business can be there right at the very start.

You’re not just doing it to feel good about yourself, you’re doing it because it makes a difference — a difference that people will connect with. A difference people will talk about to their friends (maybe even write a review or a blog about) and that my friends is how you stand out.

If you don’t think thats important and it doesn’t matter what happens after the transaction, then perhaps you shouldn’t be interested in “purposeful marketing” anyway.

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Hi. Hi. I’m A Freelance Marketing Consultant & StartUp Mentor. Medium Is Where I Talk About Digital Marketing.

Google plus Nest: Imagine the possibilities


Google plus Nest: Imagine the possibilities
Nest

From left, Nest’s Matt Rogers, Google’s Larry Page, and Nest’s Tony Fadell.

Google’s huge $3.2 billion purchase of Nest can boost the giant company’s existing products and services right away, not to mention Nest’s expansion. But the most exciting aspects of the deal come when you think about where Google could be going in the long-term.

Nest could be just a starting point for more capable applications and new ones as well, but more importantly Google can make itself into a hub for the widening Internet of things (the movement to put sensors and connect everyday household items to the web) and possibly an even smarter dispenser of advertisements based on your data.

Technology analysts whom VentureBeat has reached out to have been pointing to all of these possibilities and more.

But a little problem stands in the way of Google galloping into the most adventurous of technology providers. It’s about the Nest data. Google might not be able to get it — at least not right now.

“Our Nest privacy policy clearly limits the use of the customer information we gather to improving Nest’s products and services,” Nest founder and chief executive Tony Fadell told the BBC yesterday. “The terms of service are not going to change.”

But even if those words carry the ring of certainty, expecting Google to keep that promise might be shortsighted. As my colleague Ricardo Bilton wrote earlier today, “It would be absurdly naïve to hold Nest’s entire future to the comments it’s making on the day of its acquisition.”

So there’s room to shamelessly speculate about where Google might be heading. And we reporters and analysts can do that. But at the moment, the deal can yield some immediate perks, aside from just helping Nest grow.

Short-term gains

For starters, picking up Nest provides Google with software and hardware skills that could help it make better inroads inside people’s homes. That notion was on the mind of technology analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. Moorhead elaborated on his thoughts in an email to VentureBeat:

“… [U]p to this point, [Google] have been pretty much of a failure getting into the home in any nonmobile way. There were the many iterations of Google TV and the much maligned Nexus Q, which was discontinued before it actually shipped. Nest immediately gives Google a quality consumer experience that is second only to Apple, which can help them in all elements of the connected home. Imagine the Nest experience on security systems, garage doors, door locks, energy management, and even music and TV. Google couldn’t create it themselves, and isn’t making a lot of headroom with Motorola, but [it has] with Nest.”

Moorhead also figured Google’s legions of data scientists could help Nest figure out how to make better use all the info its devices collect. “Nest was way over its head on big data,” he wrote to VentureBeat. “I would venture to say that Google has more data scientists than Nest’s employees and contractors combined. Data is one thing, but to find the related patterns between them and take suggested actions are a very different matter.”

On top of that, Google has a rising public cloud business, having made its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) product, Google Compute Engine, generally available last month. Nest has pushed data from its devices up to Amazon.com’s widely used public cloud, Amazon Web Services. Amazon has no shortage of room for the data, but Google should be able to handle the info flow from Nest just fine, too. So at the very least, Google will be able to steal a hot business off a big competitor’s customer list.

But the real fun starts when you imagine Fadell’s firm stance on data privacy slowly eroding.

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ff Venture Capital Raises $52M Across Two Funds, With One Focused On New York State


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ff Venture Capital announced in a blog post this morning that it has closed its third fund — or rather, two funds, ff Rose and its “sister fund” ff Rose Innovate.

The firm had been open about the fact that it was raising a fund, thanks to new SEC rules. Together, the funds total $52 million, a little bit more than the $50 million that ffvc said it was planning. Investors in the funds include New York State’s Empire State Development, Goldman Sachs, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and limited partners who had backed the firm previously.

Why two funds? Founding partner John Frankel told me via email that ff Rose Innovate will invest with ff Rose, but only in companies based in New York State. That’s because of funding from Empire State Development, which Frankel said is aiming “to stimulate job growth and economic development in New York.”

“We are one of a handful of funds to receive Innovate NY money, and we consider it good use of public funds and hope to prove so over the life of the fund,” he said.

ffvc (the ff supposedly stands for “founder friendly”) is headquartered in New York, and it raised its second, $27 million fund in 2012. Rounds that it has led in the past year include funding for Tackk, Plated, and Bottlenose.

Frankel also said the firm won’t be changing its strategy, which he described as “finding entrepreneurs and teams we believe are building companies that are changing human behavior, and supporting them with financial and intellectual capital.” He emphasized the support staff that the firm offers (it has a team or more than 20 people), and he said, “We recognized that our predecessor fund was actually too small for our strategy and the capital was deployed faster than planned, in part due to the high growth our portfolio companies have generated and their continuing need for capital.”

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/14/ff-rose/

Crowdfunding Site Pozible Offers A Kickstarter Alternative For Asia-Based Projects


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Kickstarter is undoubtedly the top crowdfunding site in the world, with over $480 million pledged in 2013. For projects outside of the five countries (the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) the platform is available in, however, launching a campaign is very difficult. That’s where Melbourne-based Pozible comes in. The site recently launched in Singapore and Malaysia, the first step in its Asia-focused international expansion strategy. Over the last three years, more than 5,000 projects have raised a total of $16 million AUD (about $14.3 million USD) on Pozible, which also offers a low-cost e-commerce platform.

Pozible still faces competition from Kickstarter (if an international team has a member with residency in one of the five countries it is officially available in, it can still submit a campaign), as well as other crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo, which allows projects from around the world.

But Pozible wants to differentiate with its ‘grassroots engagement’ strategy, as well as being the first global platform to focus on Southeast Asia, co-founder and director Rick Chen told me in an email.

Pozible’s wide-range of funding option, including Bitcoin, is meant to make international contributions easier. It accepts more than 25 currencies.

Chen told me in an email that Pozible, which is open to creators in every country, is “a ‘wide open’ platform, in the sense that as long as the project has a clearly defined creative outcome, we are very happy to accept them.”

The site does have a review process, but it is a quick one, and Chen says the platform is especially popular for film, music and art projects. Pozible takes a 5% cut of the total amount pledged for successful campaigns. It also allows creators to continue using their campaign pages to sell products and takes 5% off a product’s selling price, but does not charge monthly or transactional fees.

The startup is tracking support for projects in more than 105 countries and has “big plans for international growth.”

“As we’ve only opened up access to non-Australian markets recently, our user base is still heavily Australian (more than >60% of traffic), followed closely by U.S., Europe and Asia traffic,” Chen tells me. “We’re working to build up our user base in Asia, and these efforts are already starting to show developments, with an increase in Asian projects and Asian web traffic.”

Pozible offers several funding models, including private crowdfunding, subscription crowdfunding, and self-hosted crowdfunding, which launched earlier this week. Private crowdfunding works is similar to CrowdTilt and is meant for small businesses or groups of friends who don’t want to make their project public. Subscription-based crowdfunding allows people to open monthly subscriptions to their supporters. Pozible’s self-hosted crowdfunding allows project creators who already have large following on their sites to launch their own crowdfunding service.

The platform puts extra effort into building community engagement by holding workshops and programs throughout Australia to familarize people with Pozible. Chen says they plan to duplicate those events in various Asian cities.

Though the site is especially popular among artists and musicians, it has hosted a wide variety of projects ranging from academic research to “Patient 0,” a ‘real-life’ zombie role-player game, which raised $243,480 AUD (about $217,000 USD), the highest amount by a Pozible campaign so far.

“Pozible works very closely with our projects, which is why we have a far higher success rate (56% vs Kickstarter’s 43%),” says Chen. “We constantly host Pozible workshos in the cities we work in; at these workshops, we reach out to specific communities and interest groups and we tailor our approach to make sure they get the education they need in order to optimize their chances of crowdfunding success.”

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/15/pozible/

Zuckerberg Calls Snapchat A “Privacy Phenomenon”


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Mark Zuckerberg thinks Facebook’s innovated by creating a place where people could share what wasn’t shared before, which is also why he thinks Snapchat is important. Today in a low-profile talk at Stanford alongside discussions of the NSA and venture capital’s shortcomings, Zuckerberg said “Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon.”

Zuckerberg sat down today with Stanford’s President John Hennessy onstage at the school’s Memorial Auditorium for a wide-ranging hour-long chat in front of Stanford students, professors, trustees, and Facebook employees. Here’s a video clip of a more light-hearted anecdote from Zuckerberg about Facebook’s early days that Stanford published.

The NSA And VC

The CEO spoke at length about Facebook’s three new goals after reaching 1 billion users: Connecting the rest of the world to the Internet, understanding the world through an artificial intelligence-powered unified model, and fostering the knowledge economy so more of the world can thrive.

Zuckerberg pointed out how Silicon Valley venture capitalists aren’t necessarily equipped to fund solutions to these problems (emphasis mine):

“You know there’s a great venture capital system here for investing in problems that require maybe like one to ten million dollars to kind of get started solving. But there aren’t really a whole lot of places in the world where you can solve problems that require, say, a billion dollars or three billion dollars of investment up front before you can really make a huge amount of progress on them.

And I think some of these problems are really worth solving like Internet for everyone in the world, or trying to build this unified model and build some kind of early AI, or trying to solve some of these issues around the knowledge economy…and there are only a handful of companies and a handful of governments in the world that are really in a position to make those kind of investments so I want to make sure that we put a lot of our efforts towards doing big things like that.

This means we should expect to see Facebook continuing to pursue programs like Internet.org and its new artificial intelligence initiative. Zuckerberg explained, along the way to solving huge problems, there are often rapid advances in technology — much in the way Bell Labs invented the transistor while trying to make phone signals travel across the country. So while these goals might have no “end” in sight, they may produce intermediary benefits to Facebook’s product and armory of intellectual property.

As for the impact of NSA relations on the average Facebook user’s willingness to share, Zuckerberg noted “I haven’t seen it in anything that we measure.” However, he said that the United States has been a champion of freedom of speech as the right policy, but that our insistence on surveillance could make the world lose faith in that ideal. Zuckerberg stated:

“The biggest concern that I have is that the NSA revelations knock that down a peg and I think the U.S. loses the moral high ground a bit, which makes it so that other countries which may have different views on how this should work now are more kind of empowered to do things in a way that might kind of balkanize or splinter things a bit more, which I think would be quite unfortunate if the Internet ended up working very differently or there were different rules for connection.”

Snapchat As A New Place To Share

The most fascinating part of the talk was where Zuckerberg said Facebook thinks about privacy much differently than most people expect, hinting that the world believes the company is pretty much against it. After all, the latest Grand Theft Auto video game did parody Facebook by naming its in-world social network “LifeInvader.”

Zuckerberg explained that before Facebook, there was instant messenger for communicating with one other person or a small group, and there were blogs for sharing publicly, but there was nothing in between. Zuckerberg said (emphasis mine):

“There was no privacy infrastructure to communicate with your community or just a set of friends all at once, and because of the lack of that, basically if people wanted to communicate something they had to choose to communicate with a very small audience or communicate it publicly. A lot of times you’re not comfortable communicating it publicly and maybe it’s just not worth communicating it to a small set or that’s not the full potential of what you want to communicate so you just don’t do it, it just gets lost. And that potential idea that could have been shared, or thought, or human connection and kind of option to have more connection and do more on that over time is lost.

So I actually think kind of the fundamental innovation that Facebook brought was creating this space. Right, which is really, it’s a private space that didn’t exist before. That there was no tool to be able to communicate in that space, and by opening that up and enabling people to kind of fill that space we unlocked a huge amount of potential in terms of people being able to communicate ideas and learn about what’s going on around them.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.16.45 PMUnfortunately, that statement is at odds with a lot of how Facebook actually handles privacy. As far back as 2009 and 2010, Facebook began recommending that existing users share their status updates, photos, and other content publicly. It also began defaulting users to share these types of posts with everyone — something I criticized at the time for putting users at risk, which I still believe. A lot of people don’t change their default settings. And though Facebook shows a privacy indicator every time you’re about to post, many people ignore it and end up sharing more publicly than they’d like to.

More recently, Facebook has also been giving marketers limited access to searching the firehose of public posts, and encouraging users to post more publicly with hashtags, trending topics, embeddable posts, and other Twitter-like features.

Getting people to share publicly gives Facebook better data to improve everything from search to artificial intelligence, which it sees as a positive. But the honorable thing to do would be defaulting people to share with friends, and giving them the choice to share publicly — not vice versa as it does now.

Yet still, Zuckerberg seems to see a little bit of Facebook’s innovation in Snapchat. He continued his discussion of how Facebook created a home for previously unshared content, saying:

I think a lot of the most interesting startups today are actually doing different interesting things like this. Whether they’re messenger companies that are allowing different ways to communicate very quickly with small groups.

I think Snapchat is a super interesting privacy phenomenon because it creates a new kind of space to communicate which makes it so that things that people previously would not have been able to share, you now feel like you have place to do so.

And I think that’s really important and that’s a big kind of innovation that we’re going to keep pushing on and keep trying to do more on and I think a lot of other companies will, too.

So just because Facebook’s attempt at ephemeral messaging Poke failed and its bid to acquire Snapchat was turned down, don’t expect it to bow out of this fight. If there’s sharing that people aren’t doing on Facebook today, you can bet Zuckerberg will try to absorb it somehow.

Maybe with a more tactful approach to its quest “to make the world more open and connected,” that sharing would already be happening within its walls.

Facebook’s privacy changes and constant prodding to share more widely have generated a fair amount of ill-will. So perhaps Zuckerberg shouldn’t see Snapchat, where you get to specifically choose who to share with every time, as a “privacy phenomenon.”

Maybe if people weren’t worried they were always one wrong privacy setting away from broadcasting to the entire world, they wouldn’t be so desperate for Snapchat.

Additional reporting by Billy Gallagher

[Image Credit: L.A. Cicero via Stanford]

http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/14/snapchat-privacy-zuckerberg/

5 Reasons Why List-based Articles are so Popular


It looks like it’s getting harder and harder to find content on the Internet whose title doesn’t start with a digit. Why are these things so popular..? Here are the top 5 reasons.

If you Google “25 ways”, you’ll get a nice list of life-changing content, including:

  • 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf (this is actually a video, but it’s funny)
  • 25 Ways To Up Your Ponytail
  • 25 Ways to Show You’re a Man
  • 25 ways to kill Yoshi (WTH!?)
  • 25 ways to communicate respect to your husband

These things are known as listicles, which are—like the name implies—articles written as lists.

Listicles are everywhere, and it looks like people love them, because it almost seems like that’s all you see around the Web nowadays.

How did this thing get started..? Was it content farms? Is it a conspiracy? Some even claim it goes back to the 10 commandments.

One thing’s for sure: they’re pretty popular. Here are 5 reasons why.

1. Listicles are great for skimming

With listicles, each part is a self-contained piece of content (a mini-article?), so you can easily scan all the items in the list and just read what looks good to you.

With traditional articles there is no such thing. If you skip content you might miss important information that you need to understand the rest of the piece.

2. Listicles are easier to read

With listicles, you don’t even have to read every single paragraph. You know what the topic is. You can just read the headings and get what each item is about.

With a traditional article, you pretty much have to read the whole thing.

3. You can stop and resume reading anytime

When you start a listicle, you don’t have to commit to finishing it. You can stop reading and resume later without it being a big deal.

With a traditional article, resuming reading is somewhat more difficult, since you might not remember what happened or where you left off. You generally need an uninterrupted stretch of time to read the whole thing and concentrate so you don’t get lost.

4. Listicles don’t lie to you

With listicles, you know what you’ll get. You get 12 healthy habits of successful people. Not 7, not 15. If you just read habit 6/12, you know you’re half way through.

With a traditional article, it’s harder to keep track of how you’re doing. Sure, Medium says this is a 3 minute read, but what if you are a fast reader? You just can’t know for sure.

5. ..and, listicles are easier to write

Listicles are easier to write. Why..? Because you can pretty much take any given number of facts, add some details or fluff, repeat x amount of times, and you have an article.

With traditional articles, you actually have to think about the whole thing—not just each bit. You have to know what you want to write first and how to best get your point across. You might have to do more serious research about the topic, and the whole thing must feel consistent, so you have to keep focused for a longer amount of time.

Conclusion

I actually don’t particularly hate listicles (mainly because I don’t read them). I was talking to a friend today about how it would be fun to write a listicle about listicles, so here it is.

This might be my dumbest article yet, and probably the #1 of the top 10 reasons why you shouldn’t click on the green button and recommend this article.


My name is Niccolò Brogi, I’m a web developer from Florence, Italy. You can learn more about me on my website.

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 Self-taught web developer. I like programming, Star Wars, Macs. http://nbrogi.com

Learn to Dance and Other Job-hunting Secrets


In the past 30 years, on more than one thousand different search projects, I must have debriefed four thousand different hiring managers and candidates. The big aha from all this: getting a job is as much art as science, with a lot of luck mixed in. Regardless, by knowing what to do and not to do, job-seekers can better position themselves to be found more easily, assessed more accurately, and getting an offer more likely. Following is my shortlist of the required dance steps. (Here’s a video intro to the full lesson.)

Increase Your Chances to Be Found

  • Implement a 20/20/60 job-seeking plan. Only 20% of your effort should be spent on applying to jobs, another 20% on making sure your resume and profile are easy to find, and the balance on networking.
  • Give yourself a 10-second review. Look at your resume for 10 seconds and circle everything that stands out. Since this is how much time a recruiter takes to decide to read your resume, make sure the first line is compelling and your track record stands out.
  • Become a networking guru. HR leaders contend their best hires come through employee referrals. So when you find a job posting of interest, use LinkedIn to find someone you’re connected to who is connected to someone in the company. Then get this person to refer you. Networking will also open the door to the hidden job market.

Don’t Get Excluded When First Contacted

  • Be strategic, not tactical. Don’t focus on the comp, location, company or job title. Ask about the job and the impact on the company. If this represents a career move, the stuff you get on the start date will be more than enough. Better: you’ll be invited in for the interview or possibly considered for other jobs.
  • Take control of the interview by asking questions. Don’t let the recruiter go into box-checking mode. Ask about why the job is available, how long they’ve been looking, and some of the challenges and responsibilities. Even if the job is not a perfect fit, you might be able to get it modified if they think you’re a strong person.
  • Shift the conversation to performance. Very few candidates are a perfect match on skills and experience. The best candidates are those who have accomplished the most comparable work regardless of their direct experience. You’ll need to get this point across during the first call.

Make Sure You’re Accurately Assessed

  • Ask job-related and forced-choice questions. First, ask the interviewer to describe the job. To ensure the person asks about your strengths ask something like, “Is (one of your major strengths) important in this job?” Then give an example that best demonstrates this ability.
  • Be prepared to discuss major accomplishments in depth. Write up your biggest team and individual accomplishments using the SMARTe model below. Giving a detailed two-minute answer separates you from those who mention quickly forgotten generalities.
  • Give SMARTe answers. I wrote a book for interviewers on how to ask SMARTe questions. Job-seekers can reverse engineer the process by giving examples of accomplishments that are Specific, Measurable and Action-oriented. Also include the Results achieved, the Timeframe and describe the environment.

Negotiate the Job, Not the Compensation

  • Find out where you stand. At the end of the interview ask about next steps. If non-committal, ask what area in your background is the interviewer most concerned about. Then attempt to provide a SMARTe answer to address the concern.
  • Expand or modify the job to fit your background. Jobs can be modified to fit the needs of a strong person. Rather than focusing on compensation, see if the job can be enlarged or re-scoped. If you’re successful in a bigger role, your compensation will rise accordingly and more rapidly.
  • Prove your worthy. Negotiate an early performance review if the company is unwilling to increase the compensation. To prove yourself, volunteer to start in a temp role or on a short-term consulting project. Not only does this demonstrate confidence and character, it also puts you in a very strong bargaining position once you’ve demonstrated your ability.

Getting a new job takes practice, patience and perseverance. Following these ideas will increase your odds, shorten the time to get another job, and improve your bargaining power. The key is to proactively lead the process, not follow someone else’s. This is what dancing is all about, especially with a partner who is a bit clumsy or out of step.

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Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring. He’s also a regular columnist for Inc. Magazine and BusinessInsider. His latest book, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013), provides hands-on advice for job-seekers, hiring managers and recruiters on how to find the best job and hire the best people. For more hiring advice join Lou’s LinkedIn group or follow his Wisdom at Work series on Facebook.

 

Posted by:Lou Adler

How the iPhone Changed The World — Not By A Tech Analyst


Before using an iPhone, I was skeptical towards it.

Mostly because it came one month after I got a Samsung Jet and my phone contract doesn’t support iPhone (I have to wait another 2 years), secondly because it looked so cool and awesome but I couldn’t afford it and thirdly because the Jet was so laggy and less functional and less beautiful as compared to the iPhone.

I made up reasons and convinced myself an iPhone sucked. The parts and displays were made by Samsung, what I was using was Samsung! Mine is better! iPhone users are mainstream! I am the alternative smartphone guy!

But as months went by and I saw more people using it. Tech sites were talking about it all the time. I was at Razer at that time, doing product development and there were Apple fanboys too.

The designer fanboys were in awe of the smooth product design, the packaging and the screen resolution even though it was around the 3GS era. They talked about how awesome the camera was, everything was so functional and beautiful etc etc………..

The engineers were using it. The project managers were using it. Even my direct reporting assistant director was using it.

One of the many things he mentioned about the iPhone: “Once you use an iPhone, there’s no going back.”

And its true.

I realised the iPhone is magical and revolutionary. Yet the idea is so simple, but not easy. It is the first of its kind. Something so amazing and spectacular in a form of beauty never seen before.

There are loads of articles talking about how phones were like before and after the iPhone. Today there are more choices of touchscreen phones other than the iPhone. So “Once you use an iPhone, there’s no going back” is still true, to me.

Because today’s smartphones are based on the iPhone.

Soon the day came where the Jet no longer satisfies me. In fact I regretted when I unboxed it (but convinces myself its not that bad, but failed). It was laggy, design was bad, videos were slow, typing was slow, graphics were ugly, they’re not colourful and attractive, emails were complicating to check, the browser lags, the list goes on and on…

An iPhone 3GS alone beats everything.

And obviously, I soon got it and I remember it was a white one. I loved it.

The feeling was… inseparable. It was like when I received my first favourite toy. I want to have it with me at all times. Bring it with me to all places.

My peers, colleagues, friends, relatives.. were mostly using iPhones.

When I take the train, the bus, people were using it to watch shows, listen to music.. Cab drivers were using it to navigate.

Soon, more and more apps began to surface. Games, utilities, informative, news apps… and of course, Social Media.

The iPhone became viral. It spreads. The idea of it spreads. The usage of the product spreads. Tech sites, News sites, Finance Sites all talk about it. How the iPhone changes different worlds.

I’m glad I have the opportunity to be part of this phenomenon. This viral process. It’s crazy, and fun. People still talk about the iPhone today. But the magic has faded. The craze has lessened. The innovation is lesser.

Functions are better, faster and stronger. It’s thinner. Displays are amazing.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibilities.

The power Apple have is innovation. Now that they have changed the world with the iPhone… the world is looking at them that it is their responsibility to change the world, again. And again, and again.


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Save Your Time While Blog Posts Writing


When you manage your own blog by yourself, you definitely understand how much time it can take if you really want to make it successful. Blogging is much more than just writing articles and posting them: you should work much on your blog technical part as well as its promotion of course. So, it happens soon that you don’t have enough time to write really interesting and informative posts for your blog… Isn’t it a pity? Your readers come to find new info at your blog, but they leave your blog disappointed…

So, you can always start writing short posts of course, but as far as you understand, it wouldn’t be the best solution here. Special services, like Writing Help for example, may help you come up with some new ideas and write your posts, but we doubt you will want to use them every time when you need a blog post quickly written… The perfect method would be to find a better way to save your time but still post really good articles to your blog. How to do that? Just try to follow some tips given below.

Your topic goes first

It is always better to have some topics for your future posts beforehand. It can happen that you’ll suddenly get an inspiration and decide to write an article, but you’ll spend so precious time on thinking over what to write about. You must agree that it can take a lot of time to find a topic and gather all the information needed, but if you already keep all this in mind (well, maybe in your notebook, it doesn’t actually matter), the only thing is left for you is to sit and start writing. Time will be saved, and you’ll write your post faster than you think.

So, don’t be lazy to write all ideas down. You’ll definitely use all of them in your blog’s posts afterwords.

Your points

When you’ve chosen a topic to write about, don’t ignore such an effective method of time saving as pointing out the main questions you’ll describe in your post. It can take several minutes, but you’ll notice how useful it can be for your future writing. When you have main points to tell about, your article will be written much faster, as you won’t have to think over each of them while writing itself.

So, just make it clear what you will be writing about in your blog’s post.

Your introduction

Do you write the introduction of your article first? Well, the ugly truth is that it can often take much more time than the whole article itself! As far as we know, it can be quite difficult to start an article for some writers, but who said that the introduction should be the first thing you’ll write? Let’s try the following trick: write all points you’ve thought over, and then come back to introduction!

Believe us, such a scheme can help you save much time, because sometimes it’s much easier to write both introduction and conclusion when the main part of your article is ready.

Your distraction

Sure, each of us has its own method of writing an article, and each of us knows how this or that factor can influence our inspiration. Some bloggers write posts while listening to music or watching TV, but it’s clear that the more distractions you have — the more time you’ll spend on writing your post! So, try to remove everything that can distract you from writing: your e-mail, Facebook page, TV, Skype with friends, etc.

So, you’ll have more chances to concentrate on one thing only — your writing. It’s obvious that you’ll finish your post much faster if you don’t talk to your friends in messengers, don’t reply on every Facebook status, and don’t check your e-mail every minute.

Your time limit

The best method to write faster is to set a time limit for yourself! When you know that you have 1 hour to finish your post, you’ll do nothing but writing it to be in time. Moreover, big chances are that you’ll finish your post much sooner than you thought as you are concentrated on the only thing!

Don’t let anything distract you from writing, set a time limit for yourself, choose a topic and point the main statements out beforehand — and you’ll see how easy and fast you can write! Happy writing, and make your blog content really interesting and useful for your audience!

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