mercredi 31 décembre 2014

Why You May Want to Consider Using Vine

Vine is one of those platforms that came on to the social media scene and quickly racked up a loyal user base. Since June, the number of users has more than doubled to approximately 40 million people. And this doesn’t even tell the whole story; there are millions of people out there engaging with Vine videos that come up in their Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds.

Let me back up: what exactly is Vine and why am I dedicating a whole post to it?

Vine is a video-based tool owned by Twitter where users can create a 6-second video to share with their Twitter followers and Facebook friends. The videos are played “on loop,” meaning that as soon as the video ends, it starts back up again. This way, if you missed something the first time around, you can catch it the second or third time. You might be thinking that this sounds absolutely ridiculous. What value is there in a 6-second video?

Think about some of the most basic marketing lessons we have learned in the business world:

  1. Less is usually more

  2. Reinforcement goes a long way

  3. It’s all about the brand

These days, people are so bombarded with information that it can be quite overwhelming at times. And we are so busy that, frankly, we don’t have the time to sit through a long spiel about why your company is the best at what it does. We are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day that we can’t possibly process them all.

This is where Vine can step in. Learn to think like the consumer; think of what critical information you would need to know to understand what your company does. Think about the fact that like you, consumers are extremely busy, and can’t dedicate a ton of time to one particular piece of content.

So how can you use Vine in your social media strategy ?

  • Brand Awareness

    • Allow viewers to see what you do and how you do it

    • Improve recognition when it comes to your logo, brand colors, etc.

  • Introduce a New Product

    • Video version of a reveal party

    • Quick overview of the product and when it will hit the market

  • Promotions/Giveaways

    • Provide a link to information about a contest or exclusive offers

    • To create more interaction with prospects or customers on Vine, have them submit their own Vine video in a contest

  • Show Off Company Culture

    • You love what you do, so show it off!

    • Consumers want to be reminded that they are working with real people (it’s all about that human-to-human marketing we emphasize at Mainstreethost)

  • Product Demonstrations

    • How-To guides

    • Great for showing recipes, DIY crafts, etc.

  • Introduce Your Team

    • Who are the faces behind your brand?

    • Your most valuable asset is your team; give them a little face time!

  • Polls/Trivia

    • Have fun with your viewers and engage them

    • Learn what people know about your company/industry for future marketing planning

  • Job Postings

    • Video job postings are a rapidly-growing area of HR and hiring

    • Give brief insight into what it is like to work at the company and what you are looking for

Study after study has shown that people are much more likely to engage with social media that contains images or video than just text-based posts. Also, “Brand Vines” are shared up to 4 times more than any other online videos out there, so the evidence is there that Vine can be a very valuable tool in your social media strategy. Finally, like other social media Vine is absolutely free. So why not give it a try? It’s not going to be for everyone, but you never know; it could be the missing piece you were looking for.

Why You May Want to Consider Using Vine

The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy

The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy image Stream Blog Graphics PPCAdCopy 12 22 14 300x300.jpg

Creating compelling ad copy can be one of the trickiest parts of developing your PPC campaign. Without bidding extremely aggressively all the time (which is expensive and inefficient), you can’t be in the number one position all the time. Even if you are, your ad copy still needs to drive the searcher to click your ad instead of a competitor’s below.

Here are some rules to creating eye-catching copy to capitalize on a lower position or capture your audience at a higher average position.

Craft a Unique Headline

There are tons of advertisers on Google selling the same exact thing that you are; stand out when creating ad copy by writing a headline that is different from your competitor’s.

Google only allows 25 characters in the Headline of your ad so include punctuation at the end of your first description line to extend your headline and draw attention to the ad.

The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy image PPC ad copy best practices.png 900x298

Get Creative

You only have 70 characters beyond your headline, so get creative with your ad copy. Know your audience and cater to what they need at the exact moment of their search. The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy image creative ppc ad copy.png

This advertiser knows that someone searching for “last minute gifts” needs a solution fast, so they heighten the sense of urgency and then offer a price and promotion.

Include Sales and Promos

Use your ad to tell people about current sales and promotions at the moment (be sure that the landing page tells all the information you couldn’t fit in the ad). This tells the searcher what sets you apart from the other advertisers. If one ad offers free shipping, but another offers 25% off, the searcher can weigh the offers before they click. If you have room, add an expiration date to create urgency that they may miss out if they don’t explore this opportunity now. “Buy Now!” sets a different tone than “Sale Ends Dec 23!”

Make sure you keep up to date on this and don’t use outdated offers.

Ad Extensions The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy image PPC ad extensions best practices.png 300x169

Utilize ad extensions to take up as much real estate as possible. Sitelinks are a great way to highlight other areas of the site that would be relevant to the searcher and add multiple lines to your ad.

Call extensions and location extensions can still appear even if you are not in the top 3 spots on the Search results page, so make sure the searcher knows that they can contact you if they need. Use review extensions and social extensions to add credibility to your business. If you have a 5 star review or testimonial you are proud of, include that in your extensions. The newest rollout of extensions, include callout extensions. This allows you to essentially add a third line of text to your ad to showcase unique selling points.

For more tips and best practices on driving results for your PPC campaigns, check out this free webinar replay, 7 Tips to Conquer Paid Search . You’ll learn the common mistakes made when creating AdWords accounts (that Google won’t tell you), how to use your PPC data to improve your SEO efforts, secrets to analyzing the competition and more.

The 4 Rules For Creating Compelling PPC Ad Copy

Knowing “Why” Will Help You Defeat Your Self-Sabotaging Habits (Why Not?!)

Knowing “Why” Will Help You Defeat Your Self Sabotaging Habits (Why Not?!) image Why Nietzsche1.jpg1

Part of the root, and a great deal of the motivation of what we do, or do not do, is related to our ‘why.’ Our “why” keeps us from getting sidetracked, wandering into and doing things that are not matched with our purpose, and will support us what times get their the toughest.

But, sometimes the “why” of the things we do gets destroyed by all the things we do to sabotage ourselves.

Self-sabotage can easily be defined as deciding you want something and then making sure that it does not come to pass. I am sure you have found yourself in a spot close to achieving your goal, only to throw it all away at the last moment? Did you look back later on and kick yourself for being so foolish? Most of us have.

Why do we do this to ourselves over and over? There are several possible explanations, ranging from a need to control the situation to feeling unworthy. But regardless of the cause, the solutions are similar. And we want to focus on solutions rather than sticking with this self-destructive behavior.

The next time you trip yourself up:

1. Take a good, deep look at yourself. Look back at the times that you have sabotaged yourself or come up short. You probably tried to justify the sabotaging behavior in your mind. But, ignore the reasons and just observe your behavior. What conclusion would any casual observer draw from your behavior?

  • Learn to notice the signs of self-sabotage.

  • How and when do you do it?

  • Be objective and recognize your patterns. Almost everything we choose to do is driven by a pattern, sometimes an addiction. Check yourself out.

2. Remember that success is not a straight path. Sometimes we quit because things just are not going the way we thought. Setting more reasonable expectations can help ensure that you are seeing more things through to the end. Nothing in life is ever perfect.

  • For instance, many people put making more money on their “wish list.” But, while making a lot of money is helpful, but it will not solve all of your challenges.

3. Think about the other people in your life. Self-sabotaging behavior is selfish. You are doing damage to yourself and to others.

  • Before you quit, think about how it will affect your self-esteem.

  • How will it affect those around you.

  • These two things might provide enough of a motivating force to continue pressing forward.

4. Be willing to be adventurous. When we self-sabotage, we tend to stay in their own little worlds. Seeing a project through to completion means adjusting your outlook. Whether it is a different assignment, a new relationship, or something else, your life will be changed to some degree. Be brave enough to take that adventure.

  • If you tend to start new projects, but then stop yourself before ever completing them, nothing will ever change, your will remain discouraged, and you will have wasted more time.

5. Start small. Give yourself the gift of having a few small successes. Then take the time to notice that these successes are not perfect, but they still made your life better.

  • Enjoy the victory and imagine how great it would be to accomplish greater successes.

  • When I was 13 I wanted to get a job for the summer. State law required that I be 14. I checked out everything that came across my path. Most people just laughed and blew me off because of my age. After pounding the streets for weeks, I finally landed a spot at a private day-care. Someone took a chance on me. This had little to do with my chosen profession, and the pay would sound ludicrous today, but it was a small victory that showed me, and others, that I could stick to a goal. It was also the beginning of a long, and somewhat varied work history, but one I was proud to display.

6. Take some time before making major decisions. Before making a big decision, give yourself some time to think about it. Many of our decisions can be impulsive and emotional. A few days will give you the perspective you need to make the wisest decision.


In previous posts I have talked about quitting smoking, and finding my own personal why, actually several of them. Read those two posts for context.

As the year drives to an end, know this: There is nothing that you resolve to do has the remotest chance of coming true unless you know ‘why’ you are doing it. And, unless that reason is more important than all of the difficulties that will come against in the interim, you are absolutely screwed.

It took several leaps of faith, a ton of prayer, perseverance, belief in myself, and a ‘why” that was so much more important than anything else to push me forward.

Life will throw all kinds of crap at you. Some things will be easy to brush aside, and some will be very difficult. But…


Identifying and honoring their purpose is perhaps the most important action that successful people take.

Write all answers in present tense

1. What are your two best personal qualities: (e.g., creativity):

2. What are two ways you enjoy expressing these?

3. In a perfect world, what would your world look like?

4. Now, use information from the first three questions, and write your personal purpose statement. What have you come to do? Again write in present tense.

My purpose is to use my……


1. I know why I am here. I know my purpose

2. I will pay attention to my actions and squash self-sabotaging thoughts and actions as they arise.

3. I will forgive myself, learn from my actions and move on. (see yesterday’s post)

‘It is in those tough times,

in those dark and lonely nights,

in those bitter moments of trial and disappointment,

when you will want to, and may, cry,

that your ‘why’ will keep you warm,

keep you focused and keep you on track.’

Martina McGowan

Knowing “Why” Will Help You Defeat Your Self-Sabotaging Habits (Why Not?!)

How to Create and Use an Infographic Resume

How to Create and Use an Infographic Resume image shutterstock 180834215 210x300.jpgPictures are not only worth a thousand words, they can also help you get a job. Visual content is more appealing to look at and can illustrate quickly, making them ideal for resumes. While many creative types are using infographic resumes, there are some situations in which you’ll want to stick to traditional text in presenting your work history. Learn the pros and cons of infographic resumes, and get tips on how you can create and use one to land a job.

Pros of Infographic Resumes

  1. Stand out from the crowd. Competition is fierce for jobs. Being able to differentiate yourself from your competitors is crucial.

  2. Visual appeal. As already mentioned, graphics are more interesting and appealing than documents full of text and bullet points.

  3. Clearly showcase information. Infographics are designed to sort, arrange and showcase data in an easy to understand manner.

  4. Easy to share online. Infographics work well in social media including LinkedIn, Pinterest and posting in an online portfolio. With a single link you can showcase your expertise in a visually compelling manner.

Cons of Infographic Resumes

  1. Not all jobs are suited to infographic resumes. Many employers require traditional resumes because that’s what they’re used to and expect. Some employers may use an Applicant Tracking System that scans and looks for keywords to measure the applicant’s fit to the job. That type of scanning doesn’t work with infographics, which means you’re resume would be weeded out

  2. Not all employers are open to infographic resumes. Traditions die-hard. There is a difference between differentiating yourself and being annoyingly clever.

  3. Infographic resume may be perceived as less professional.

When to Use an Infographic Resume

Because they’re still not accepted by all employers, you should continue to use a traditional text resume when applying for jobs. However, because employers will likely do a web search on you, having your infographic online can be a great way to show off your creativity and seriousness in finding a job. Some places to use an infographic include:

1) Your website or blog.

2) Online portfolio.

3) LinkedIn profile.

4) Pinterest page.

How to Create an Infographic Resume

There are services, such as and Vizify, that will help you make an infographic resume based on your social media content. The key points to remember in creating an infographic resume are:

1) Cover all the important aspects required on resumes, such as education and job history.

2) Make it easy to read and understand. Your infographic shouldn’t be overly cluttered.

3) Condense data into readily understood snippets. Work timelines and other measurable statistics are easily represented visually.

4) Include a photo of you and contact information.

How to Create and Use an Infographic Resume

My Big Data Resolution for 2015

My Big Data Resolution for 2015 image confetti.png

My Big Data Resolution for 2015 image BD NV14 Figure 12a1 1024x1024.jpg

Figure 1. NewVantage Partners study of Fortune 1000 technology executives.

I generally like precision, and I strive for it in my writing and thinking. It certainly helps in communicating ideas., However, I have been pretty relaxed in how I use the term, Big Data. I’ve used the term to refer to the size of the data set (e.g., “We have Big Data.”). I have even used it to describe a method (e.g., “We are using a Big Data approach.”). Still other times, I have used it as a general label (e.g., “Big Data is the future.”).

In a survey of Fortune 1000 technology executives, 30% of the executives found the term, Big Data, confusing and misleading and 53% said it was overstated (see Figure 1). With my inconsistent use of the term, perhaps I am merely contributing to their dislike of the term.

So, I am making a New Year’s resolution for 2015. I will be more precise when I use the term, Big Data.

My Big Data Resolution for 2015 image bigdataphenomenon.pngSo, how will I use the term, Big Data? A good place to start is to see how others use it and define it. Berekely solicited over 40 data experts for their definition of Big Data. These definitions could be reduced into six broad areas. These six areas represent the problems/challenges we face in the realm of Big Data. When you tackle a data-intensive project, you will likely need to answer questions in each of these six areas:

  1. Processing of 3Vs: The first area is about the nature of the data including the size (i.e., volume), speed (i.e., velocity) and complexity (i.e., variety) of the data and the technology to process it all.

  2. Analytics: Analytics is about the types of analyses we perform on the data. There are two general approaches when analyzing data: the exploratory approach (machine learning) and the hypothesis-driven approach (human judgement, critical). I look at these two approaches as complementary to each other. While the hypothesis-driven approach requires scientists to set up and test pre-determined hypotheses, machine learning can augment that process by quickly analyze millions relationships that might lead to potential areas of interest that can then be reviewed, and perhaps pursued, by scientists with more formal testing. For example IBM Watson helped researchers at Baylor College ingest and review 70,000 research papers on a cancer protein. It identified six new proteins to target for cancer research.

  3. Insights: The analytics leads to insights. When we consider the insights we gain from our analytics, we need to ensure the results are reliable, valid and useful. We often times turn to data scientists to help us make sense of the analytics and to verify its veracity.

  4. Data Integration: Because analytics is all about finding relationships among variables in our data sets, businesses are looking to integrate their data silos to uncover interesting relationships across different metrics. The value of integrated data sets is greater than the sum of its parts.

  5. Communication: We need to be able to share our results to interested parties. Toward this end, technology vendors are creating visualization tools to improve how we communicate our results.

  6. Security/Privacy/Ethics: Finally, the era of the quantification of everything has resulted in issues surrounding the misuse of data as they relate to security breaches, and privacy and ethics concerns. In fact, a recent study of Chief Information Officers found that security is the number one challenge of Big Data projects (51% indicated it as a top challenge). Some major brands that have been the target of security breaches include Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and JP Morgan Chase. Other examples include the US National Security Agency’s monitoring of individuals worldwide as well as Facebook’s experiments on attitudes using unsuspecting users.

“Big Data” is a Phenomenon

As these definitions of Big Data show, Big Data is not one thing; it is about a lot of different things. Each of these things is not new or unique to Big Data; we have had to address each of them decades ago. These things are simply more relevant in today’s overly-quantified world. So, in 2015 and beyond, when I’m asked to define Big Data, here is how I’m going to answer:

“Big Data is a phenomenon that is the result of the quantification of everything.”

My Big Data Resolution for 2015

Working with RSS Feeds: Maximizing Your Content Stream

Working with RSS Feeds: Maximizing Your Content Stream image rss.280by280.png

An RSS (Rich Site Summary) feed is a means to distribute changing web content (including blog posts, podcasts, news releases and site updates) to related sites, blogs, online publishers and feed subscribers. It allows busy people to get the information they want without having to use email, which prevents the publisher from selling or otherwise providing their contract information to other parties. Plus there’s almost no risk of malware, spam or identity theft.

Users subscribe and receive content via a feed reader, which could be a browser extension or a separate program such as Bloglines, RSSOwl or feeder. These feed readers are customized to web, desktop and mobile platforms.

From a marketing perspective, an RSS feed is a direct pipeline to your target audience. It’s also a way to boost your Google search profile—sites that update more frequently get better search rankings. But it’s not enough to simply put an RSS badge on your website.

“Build it and they will come” only works in the movies. Here are our five top tips to maximize your RSS stream and grow your target audience.

1. Distribute content beyond your subscriber base

Don’t just rely on visitors who click on the RSS badge or your web site. You must proactively syndicate your content to other appropriate RSS directories and web sites. This is why RSS is also sometimes referred to as “Really Simply Syndication.” For example, if you sell sports equipment, you want to syndicate to other similar feeds, which can range from general interest sports news to specific categories of equipment. RSSTop55 lists a number of syndication services covering a wide range of categories.

2. Track your readership

Most RSS readers provide tools to analyze subscriber behavior, including time spent reading feeds, link click-throughs and other information that can help you tailor content to what your audience wants. For example, tracking will show you that your subscribers spend the most time on feeds related to new product developments and less on “fun” personal news about key employees. For the next few months, increase the quantity of product news, and reduce or even eliminate the personal news. Keep tracking and reassess subscriber behavior over the next few months.

3. Link to social media

Use Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and other social media to promote your RSS feeds. Similarly, post your social media links on your feeds. One hand washes the other. Most RSS feed programs provide the option to post from and to your social media.

4. Conduct contests and give away something

Contests are a tried and true way to engage and build your audience. As just one example, Ben Pickering reports a Facebook contest that boosted likes from 50 to 1,000 in a few days. A campaign that offers new subscribers the chance to win a prize is a surefire way to get people to sign up.

5. Encourage sharing

Include a “call to action” to encourage subscribers to share content. For example:

“Like this article? Please email it to someone you think might like it, too. And be sure to Like us on our Facebook page and mention this post.”

Working with RSS Feeds: Maximizing Your Content Stream

Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

Let’s face it, if your business uses computers and software, it needs tech support. Computers break down, they lose connectivity, and they can become infected with viruses despite our best efforts. Users forget login passwords, especially after long weekends, and networks go down for no reason. And then there’s the learning curve that happens whenever you install or upgrade software. When computer problems hit, you need someone on hand to fix them before they completely disrupt your business. Unfortunately, not everyone can have a dedicated, on-site helpdesk, which is why outsourced IT support is so important. Here are several reasons why an outsourced IT support might be the best option for you.

1. Lower cost

IT departments require a lot of equipment to run smoothly; this includes computers, software, tools, office equipment, and office space. If your company is running on a tight budget, an in-house IT department could be an expensive proposition, even if it’s just one guy. Outsourced IT departments generally provide their own equipment and tools, and it’s usually included in the cost of the service. Also, because the outsourced IT company has multiple clients, the cost is spread over all clients and is minimal as compared to what you would pay in-house, just to support your company alone.

2. One-stop assistance

When you buy or lease computers, you have the option of purchasing a service contract; but that contract only covers issues with the computer, and not necessarily the software or your network. By the same token, software vendors offer support for their products, but don’t usually support the computers on which their products are installed. This means that you might have to call multiple support desks to get the help you need, and that can significantly slow things down. Outsourced IT departments are designed to handle multiple issues, from hardware glitches to software bugs, even for proprietary software.

3. 24-hour / seven day assistance

Outsourced helpdesks are generally open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and have toll-free numbers that clients can call at any time, from anywhere.

For example, Firewall Technical’s Ottawa IT Support desk supports companies in Ottawa, Canada. However, if an employee of one of those companies is on company business in Bangkok, Thailand, or New York City, New York, he can still get help if his computer fails, or if he is having trouble connecting remotely to the company network.

It also means that there is someone on-hand to monitor your systems 24/7, so that a mail server outage, or a loss of data at 5:00 AM Saturday, during a long holiday weekend, won’t shut everything down until Tuesday morning.

In-house IT departments are usually only available during regular business hours, unless you want to pay a lot of money in overtime and double-time for IT staff to work during off-hours and holidays.

4. Consistent service

Outsourced IT departments have years of experience screening their agents to ensure that they have the appropriate technical skills and experience to provide consistent service. When you hire your own IT people, you will either need to get someone who has the knowledge to properly screen people, or you will have to screen them yourself. Even if you consider yourself pretty technically savvy, you might not have the information you need to pick the right candidates, and that can negatively affect your quality of support.

5. It’s the wave of the future

More companies are looking toward inexpensive and efficient ways to handle their IT support needs, and outsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular solution.

Why You Should Outsource Your IT Department

8 Best Conferences and Events for Entrepreneurs in 2015

For all the entrepreneurs who are running or launching a startup business, now it is the time for you to think strategically about new business opportunities or joint ventures for next year. Scheduling some time to attend conferences and business events with inspirational figures or likeminded professionals is always a smart move.

With countless numbers of conferences and events out there, BusinessVibes helps you to shortlist these 10 best and most recommended conferences and events for entrepreneurs to attend in 2015:

1. Podcast Movement , 31 Jul – 2 Aug 2015, Fort Worth, Texas

If you are working closely with websites and blogs Podcast Movement might be the best event for you to attend. It provides a comprehensive solution for podcasting with over 30 breakout sessions, which will include sessions that are a part of our niche podcasting track, business podcasting track, technical podcasting track, and more.

2. Social Media Marketing World, 26 – 28 Mar 2015, San Diego, California

The conference brings together over 2000 marketers from around the world with top social media marketing pros and brands; it is a great opportunity for you to connect face-to-face with the top social media marketing experts while breaking bread with like-minded peers from around the globe.

3. New Media Expo, 13 – 16 Apr 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada

Started in 2007, New Media Expo is now the world’s largest electronic Media event covering blogging, podcasting, Web TV and video, and all of it with strategies for your business. 98,000 bloggers, podcasters, web TV creators, traditional radio and TV broadcasters, producers, celebrities, media executives and social media marketers will all converge for 4 days to share with each other what is working right now and confess what isn’t working anymore.

4. WordCamp, several dates and locations

WordCamp is a conference for WordPress, the world’s most popular content platform. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers to participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

5. 99U Conference, 1 – 2 May 2015, New York

The goal of the 99U Conference is to shift the focus from idea generation to idea execution, it provides comprehensive content of design, tech, and entrepreneurial advice to help attendees run a business or push an idea forward.

6. Launch Festival, 24 – 26 Feb, San Francisco, California

It is truly as much a festival as a conference where attendees can launch startup, raise money and learn about other starting company. Anyone, from an entrepreneur with an idea to an early-stage company leader, can find value in Launch Festival

7. Entrepreneur Organization’s Global Leadership Conference, 15 – 18 Mar, London UK

​Held throughout the year, EO Global events combine provocative learning programs with unique resources and memorable social venues. It is a great platform to learn from business experts, experience other cultures and build relationships with members outside of your chapter.

8. America’s Small Business Summit, 8 – 9 June 2015, Washington

Organized by US Chamber of Commerce, America’s Small Business Summit focuses on leadership, management, and policy insights from some of the best business leaders around. The summit will also present the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award with wining price of $10,000.

8 Best Conferences and Events for Entrepreneurs in 2015

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Change Management

We Dont Need No Stinkin Change Management image Change.jpg

What is your company’s approach to change management?

In a previous post, I wrote about the customer experience inflection point. I stated: There comes a time in every company’s history, present time, or future when it must change or adapt – or die. In order to change or adapt, there must be some systematic process in place, a process that gets everyone on board and marching to the same beat; that process is often referred to as change management.

On Wikipedia, change management is defined as: an approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state. In organizational change, the approach is structured to ensure changes are smoothly and successfully implemented to achieve lasting results.

Why is change management important? Ultimately, we listen to customers in order to improve the customer experience, and this really means changing how we currently do things. The best way to approach both your customer experience management (CEM) strategy and how you will improve the experience as a result of listening to customers is to have a clearly-defined approach in place.

As you start to think about the strategies and steps involved in CEM, you realize that it is a change management process in and of itself. So the steps to transition to some desired future state are probably no different than what you already know. But for fun, let’s run through some of the key tenets.

Executive buy-in is a must if any organizational or other changes are to take place. To win the hearts (emotional) and minds (rational) of your executives, you’ll need to build the business case, which will require some quick wins to show not only what can be done but also your commitment and persistence to achieving some outcome. As change is implemented, further quick wins may be required.

Going hand in hand with that (“some outcome”) will be the need to develop an inspirational and aspirational customer experience vision; it will define and outline what you see as the future state of the customer experience. It will briefly describe the experience you plan to deliver. And it will serve as a guide to help choose future courses of action. How can you manage change if you don’t know what you’re changing. Define it. Communicate it. Early and often.

This will be important because you’ll also need to get employee buy-in. Change cannot be imposed or forced upon employees; they must be involved in it, understand the what and the why, and help to shape the outcome. When they’re involved in the changes, they are more apt to be accountable and to take ownership.

At the same time, empower employees to do what’s right, and let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes during this process: own up to mistakes, fix them, and move on. Reinforce the right actions, and model and recognize the desired behaviors. All of this will be a reflection of your culture and a relentless focus on a great employee experience. Changes must become a part of your DNA.

Cross-functional buy-in and commitment will also be key. If change is to happen, if the experience is to be improved, silos must be eliminated, and the organization must work together as one.

Beyond developing that framework, some other important things to keep in mind:

  • Listen to customers – past, present, and future. Identify not only their needs but the tasks they are trying to achieve. This is the groundwork that must be completed before you can begin to execute on your change management. You need to understand the present state before you can head to some desired future state.

  • Design the new customer experience based on understanding who your customers are and what jobs they are trying to do with your organization’s products or services. Incorporating principles of human-centered design is a good idea at this point. Bring employees into the innovation and design processes.

  • Implement changes across the organization based on who your customers are and what they are telling you. For employee buy-in and involvement, communication and training are key, as well. And model the right – the desired – behaviors for them.

  • Measure the changes and their impact. Recalibrate and redesign as needed. You may not get it right the first time. That’s OK. Speed of re-innovation and redesign are important testaments to your commitment to change. Don’t sit on it.

  • Communicate. It’s your best and most important tool in the change management process. Use it early and often.

  • Deal with objections. Not everyone likes change. Haters will hate – figure out how to bring them into the fold. We need everyone on board. You may have to go back to the basics, i.e., getting buy-in (hearts and minds). Socrates said: the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. Let’s make that the mantra.

One last tip… you’ll want to prioritize your changes. You can’t make all of the changes at the same time; pace yourself. Remember that the customer experience is a journey…

Do you need to think about change management? I think you know the answer.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. -Richard Buckminster Fuller

Image courtesy of nanagyei

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Change Management

Understanding Speedy Deletion Defenses For Wikipedia Articles

If you are reading then, chances are the article you are trying to save from speedy deletion has already been deleted from existence on Wikipedia. Without knowing the speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia, many articles recommended for speedy deletion are done so quickly. Most of which without the creator leaving a response, or a response that contains any persuasion as to why the page should not be deleted.

First, it is important to understand the speedy deletion process of Wikipedia. There are many ways to delete a Wikipedia page, but a speedy deletion is one that happens quickly and most of the time for good reason. Although Wikipedia is based on consensus and most deletion discussions take a week or longer before a decision is made, there are times when the immediate deletion of an article is necessary. For instance, let’s pretend that someone creates a Wikipedia page about a topic that is a hoax and does not really exist. Instead of allowing the page to remain in Wikipedia for a week while editor after editor votes to delete the page, it serves Wikipedia’s goal of providing an accurate and neutral encyclopedia to get rid of the page.

Now, if you created a page that has been tagged for speedy deletion but there is an actual reason why you feel that it should not be deleted, it is good to know the speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia articles. There are dozens of reasons why someone can recommend an article for speedy deletion, but I will cover some of the main ones and then let you know what you need in order to help save the page from immediate deletion. Of course, all of these examples are not foolproof and I do not guarantee that any will work. However, I will tell you what will give you the best chance of giving a viable reason for editors not to delete your article. For the guideline on speedy deletion as well as the different criteria that qualifies an article for speedy deletion, follow this link to Wikipedia.

Vandalism, hoaxes, and test pages:

Wikipedia allows the immediate deletion of pages that are pure vandalism or hoaxes. For instance, if you were to create a Wikipedia page about an imaginary disease, this would be cause for immediate deletion as Wikipedia is not a place to start and spread hoaxes or rumors. In fact, Wikipedia has allowed many hoaxes to go unchecked and even has a list of Wikipedia hoaxes. So, not all hoaxes are deleted immediately, but this is a valid reason to speedily delete an article.

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Now, if you created an article that is NOT a hoax or vandalism, it is important that you provide evidence as to why it is real. On the talk page of the article (and they should already be in the article itself) state clearly why the topic is real and provide links to references that show that it is real. These must be references to reliable sources as putting up references from press release and blogs just won’t cut it. The best way to avoid needing a speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia in this instance is to ensure that the page you created is properly cited in the first place.

Recreation of a previously deleted page:

If a page was recently deleted pursuant to a deletion discussion (referenced earlier – usually a 7 day discussion), then recreating the same page is criteria to speedily delete the page. After all, it was decided by consensus to delete the page previously so reposting the page within a short time after deletion defeats the purpose of having a discussion. Now, keep in mind that this does NOT prevent the recreation of a page, but it does state that pages that fail to qualify for this criteria are those which “are NOT [emphasis added] substantially identical to the deleted version.” So, therein lies another you can add to the list of speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia.

If the article you post is tagged for speedy deletion under this criteria, you need to leave a message on the talk page stating that the article is not substantially similar to the page that was deleted. Not only do you need to leave this message, but it must also be true. Don’t just make the statement and hope for the best as an administrator will check the previously deleted article to compare the versions. So, you need to first make sure that the article you post is not substantially similar to the one that was deleted. Are you unsure? Simply leave a message on the talk page of the administrator who deleted the article and ask them to restore the article to your userspace so that you can improve the article. You will then have a base to use as a start for the article and also be able to compare versions prior to posting.

Unambiguous advertising or promotion:

This one should be simple, but many people still don’t get it. Wikipedia is not a website for you to post your promotional content. If you are looking to promote yourself, your company, or product, then you will need to make sure that you have a list of speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia that you can use to help save your article. Even so, you will have little luck saving a page that reads like an advertisement or promotion. Pages that read like press copy or content landing pages are likely to be nominated and speedily deleted.

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Now, there are times when an article does appear to be promotional, but is simply written according to the sources. After all, there are a few people, companies, and products that have references that even though they come from reliable sources simply promote the topic as it is so popular. First, make sure that the article you posted is toned down and void of any promotional content. If the article does contain promotional type wording but you are simply citing what it says in the reference, then this is what you need to point out on the talk page. Cite the specific areas of the article that appear to be promotional, then provide the link to the wording in the reference where it came from. This way the administrator reviewing the deletion recommendation can check the wording in the reference against the tone of the article specific to the wording it reflects.

Copyright infringement:

Wikipedia frowns on copyright infringement. Copyright infringement with images is a different story altogether and I will put that on editors’ lack of understanding of Wikipedia’s guidelines on copyrighted images as well as the Foundations’ confusing interpretation of copyright laws. However, when it comes to copyright of wording, I actually have sympathy for editors. If your website posts information that was originally posted elsewhere (e.g., book, website, etc.), then it is not only subject to copyright claim from the person who wrote it, but could also become inundated with copyright claims coming from Google and the potential to have your website de-indexed. With so many articles being created on a daily basis, Wikipedia is quickly to delete copyrighted information in order to be in compliance with copyright laws and so that they do not get backed up with copyright removal requests.

When it comes to speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia as it relates to copyright infringement, there really isn’t much you can do unless you are the owner of the content. If you own the content and it was taken from your website, you can always send permission to Wikipedia allowing them to use the content under a Creative Commons license. Simply leave a message on the talk page that you own the content and that you wish to donate it under a Creative Commons license. The rest of the process is an article all in itself. As such, I will simply send you to this link that explains how to grant said permission to Wikipedia.

No indication of importance:

Notability is the first thing that needs to be established for a Wikipedia article. Failure to do so can result in an article being speedily deleted. After all, Wikipedia is based on notability and only those topics that meet notability guidelines should be included in Wikipedia. While non-notable pages are normally reserved for deletion discussions, articles that fail to “establish” or state the notability of the topic are subject to speedy deletion.

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First, you should always make sure that the article you post contains a statement as to why the subject is notable. For instance, you can state that the person is the “author of the best-selling book” which if supported by a reliable source would be a statement of notability. If someone requests speedily deletion of your article based on this criteria, you need to make sure that you state why the topic is notable. Remember, the article is not going to be deleted because it is non-notable, but because it fails to state “why” the topic is notable. Familiarize yourself with notability and the various criteria for different topics. This will need to be the reason you cite on the talk page if you want to save the article from speedy deletion.

If all else fails:

If all else fails or you feel that your article is going to be deleted anyway, you can always ask the reviewing administrator to move the article to a userspace where you can improve the article. What this means is that you are actually requesting that the article be deleted, but that the content is saved and moved to a location where you can improve the article prior to posting it again. In order to do this, leave a message on the talk page of the article and ask that the reviewing admin delete the article but leave a copy in your userspace so that you can work on improving the article. This shows that you are actually there to help improve Wikipedia, not spam an article. It also gives you the opportunity to work on the article without being looked at by other editors as a spammer. Hopefully, you will be able to improve your article without needed to cite any speedy deletion defenses for Wikipedia articles.

Understanding Speedy Deletion Defenses For Wikipedia Articles

It’s All About the Click: email Marketing

It’s All About the Click: email Marketing image email header spr3nj.png

Email marketing is still the preferred form of contact for most consumers. But, are you making the most of your email marketing campaign? Here are my tips for creating a successful email marketing campaign.

Google Tabbed Inbox and Smart Inbox

Getting users to open your emails was always challenging, but email marketing became increasingly challenging when Google introduced its Tabbed Inbox, which automatically segments incoming messages into primary, social, and promotional. While the tabbed inbox (and Google’s new Smart Inbox — and I have invites if you need one) make email more effective for users, most email marketing ends up in a users promotional tab, resulting in plummeting open rates for email marketers. For instance, one client went from a very impressive 30%+ open rate to single digit open rates.

Most recommendations for surviving Google’s Tabbed Inbox revolve around getting readers to move your message into their primary email tab where they’re much more likely to see and open your email. Once a single message is moved into the primary tab, all future similar emails go straight to the primary tab.

Various techniques accomplish this, such as drag and drop to move a message into the primary tab and right-clicking on a message to move it to the primary tab. Many marketers created special email messages containing instructions for readers to ensure they continue getting your messages.

Of course, now your challenge is doubled — you have to get folks to open the instructional email and you have to encourage them to take action to receive future emails in their inbox.

Getting readers to open your email marketing

Of course, just showing up in a readers inbox is only the first of many tasks necessary to achieve ROI from your email marketing campaigns. You still have to get readers to open your message. Several tactics help with this gigantic task:

A value-based subject line

The first key to getting readers to open you email message is creating a powerful subject line. Remember, consumers don’t buy products they buy solutions, so make sure your subject line gives readers some reason for opening your email — tell them what problem you solve.

Content, content, content

Don’t just tease readers with a value-based subject line — deliver on your promise with the content. And, make your email content snackable with images and lots of white space that invites readers to consume your content.


Personalization in your email marketing campaign dramatically improves open rates. And, don’t stop with simply adding readers names, think about segmenting your list and creating custom messages focusing on the unique needs of each segment.

Call to action

Include a call to action (CTA) within your email message — don’t assume readers know what response is appropriate. Making your CTA visual and making it stand out within the body of your message increases clicks — the end-game for your email marketing campaign.


When you send your email impacts open rates — sending messages early or late in the workday increase open rates.

Legal issues

Canspam is a federal law under the control of the Federal Trade Commission and it makes certain restrictions on email marketers — I only wish snail mail marketers faced similar restrictions. If you’re using a leading email marketing company, like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or automation software like Salesforce, they’ll make sure you understand these regulations and ensure you comply — because they face serious fines for your email marketing mistakes.

Here are some things to keep in mind regarding email marketing legislation:

  • Make sure folks on your list requested information from you — called opt-in.

  • Immediately remove members from you list when they request.

  • Include easy options for unsubscribing in your email message.

  • Set a privacy policy that clearly spells out how you protect the privacy of list members.

  • Identify the sender, including their physical address.

In addition, many email clients, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc, monitor email and remove suspected spam before it hits a user’s inbox. Several things increase the likelihood your message will end up in a user’s spam folder, such as using free in the subject line (based on past abuse), buying lists (which likely falls under Canspam laws), and using a reputable email firm.

Measure and test

Always measure the results of your email marketing campaigns because each subscriber list performs differently and no absolute success factors exist.

A corollary to measuring is testing. Tests are specific experiments designed to understand your list and how they respond. This great infographic from our friends at Marketo shows the commonly tested elements leading to successful email marketing.

Many email companies provide tools for testing various elements of you email marketing campaign, so keep an eye out for this factor when deciding on your email provider. In fact, Canspam makes it challenging to change email providers, so this is a very serious decision that deserves serious consideration.

It’s All About the Click: email Marketing image Email Marketing Cheat Sheet mogbbt.png

It’s All About the Click: email Marketing

10 Great Pieces Of Entrepreneurial Advice From 2014

10 Great Pieces Of Entrepreneurial Advice From 2014 image advice no text.280by280.png

In 2014, we’ve published hundreds of articles chocked full entrepreneurial advice. From handling small business finances to marketing dos and don’ts, we’ve made it our goal to keep you at the top of your entrepreneurial game.

But practicing all of the pieces of advice from 2014 is nearly impossible. That’s why we’ve rounded up the top 10 suggestions that we, and our team of expert contributors, have given you this year.

Don’t pitch crap to investors

If we’ve learned anything from Shark Tank this year it’s that elevator pitches can surely go awry. Serial entrepreneur Scott Gerber and his fellow Young Entrepreneurial Council (YEC) provided us a list of 10 things entrepreneurs should never, under any circumstances, do while pitching to investors.

The article was a hit and our readers loved the piece. Must-not’s include:

  • Being redundant

  • Not having fiscal milestones

  • Avoiding tricky questions

  • Ignoring possible risks

  • Not pitching your team

If you’ll stand in front of a panel of investors in 2015, be sure to reread this cautionary collection of pitching do’s and don’ts.

Don’t quit your day job

According to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study, entrepreneurs who stay employed while launching a new business are a third less likely to fail than those who quit their jobs. For reasons like financial stability, testing the waters, and minimizing risk, we advise keeping a steady paycheck while first starting your business- at least until you can make that smooth transition to full-time self-employment.

Passion will always trump money

John Meyer, Head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation, relayed nine pieces of inspiration from the entrepreneurial ambassadors of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

One of our favorites on the list was a quote from Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. When asked if entrepreneurs should start businesses based on financial possibilities or pure passion, he responded with counsel we loved:

“I believe that it should be based off your passion – it proves to be a different type of motivation when you actually care about what you are doing versus just doing it for the bottom line.”

Men, support your women leaders

Our second-favorite piece of advice from this article originated from Hilary Clinton. Always a strong voice for women in executive positions, the Secretary of State instructed men to support women in leadership roles and to value their irreplaceable insight. The only way women will be able to break through the proverbial glass ceiling is with the help of their male counterparts.

“There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries,” says Clinton. “By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.”

Empower women to chase their goals in 2015.

Foster an entrepreneurial culture

Gerber and the YEC also supplied us with 12 ways to establish a workplace of innovating “intrapreneurs,” rather than follow-the-leader employees. To do this, entrepreneurs should hire aspiring entrepreneurs and make employees feel empowered via incentives, open communication, and giving them ownership over important projects.

Accept the ebbs and flows of business

In his post, What Successful SMB Founders Wish They’d Know From the Start , contributing guest writer Nick Chowdry asks three successful entrepreneurs to recall what they wish they’d known from the get-go of self-employment.

Steve Buskin, who runs training and speaking business, said he wish he’d known that everything in business – from his cash flow to his self-esteem- would fluctuate. And that it was okay. He advised hopeful entrepreneurs to learn how to remain calm and realize that, just because business may be slow at certain times, clients don’t hate you. The nature of business is to ebb and flow.

Respect your work/life boundaries

Chowdry asks the same question to Hannah Martin, founder of Talent Ladies Club, and her response provides guidance to those of you who work from home. It can be easy to blend your work life and personal life when both reside under the same roof.

But according to Hannah, you must learn to create boundaries between your house chores and your work chores. Dedicate hours to your business and hours to your personal life. Try your best not to blur the lines between the two, even if your dirty laundry is overflowing.

Nurture young entrepreneurs

Market expert Larry Alton outlined 6 signs from childhood that pointed to your future as an entrepreneur. Do any of these ring a bell? You never procrastinated, you were a bookworm, you challenged yourself, and you were always picked first for softball. While you may have identified with many of these signs (congratulations), be sure to notice these traits in the young minds around you. Nurture and encourage them to think outside the box.

Didn’t go to college? Doesn’t matter.

It’s time to get over your insecurities about not going to college. Studies show a bachelors degree equates to business success, but Shayna Marks shows us this isn’t always the case. In her well-received blog post, she describes six extremely successful entrepreneurs who completely changed their respective industries.

Do the names Richard Branson, David Karp, and Susan Lyne sound familiar? None were university graduates.

Don’t be a bad manager by micro-managing

Nothing kills creativity like micromanagement. As Larry Alton explains in his post, 5 Signs of a Bad Manager, it’s hard to give someone else the reigns- especially when you’ve built your business from the ground up.

But if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur and leader, back off and trust the employees you hired for a reason. Also, be sure to read the remaining four signs to avoid terrible management habits in 2015.

We look forward to providing you with the best thought leadership advice from the best thought leaders in 2015. But for now, take these 10 pieces of advice to heart and share then with your entrepreneurial comrades.

10 Great Pieces Of Entrepreneurial Advice From 2014

How The Illogical Process Of Hiring Can Help YOU

How The Illogical Process Of Hiring Can Help YOU image shutterstock 213228463 300x170.jpgSo, finally, you receive a call to schedule an interview.

All your efforts have paid off. A person calls you to schedule another interview. This is a huge compliment! You were selected from dozens or, at times, hundreds of people who applied for the very same position. You typically feel elated on one hand and apprehensive on the other. The reason is clear. You know that the real test lies in the interview process.

Even if you think you interview well (because you’ve gotten jobs in the past!), the interview represents a big challenge. Over the past several years, the business climate has changed dramatically, and at the same time, the market has gotten flooded with highly qualified candidates. Interviewing is a skill that can be improved through hard work and preparation. There are so many applicants for only one opening that the process has become extremely competitive. You need to outshine your competition. Unless you kept your job search skills honed in on job market developments, you’ll most likely need to improve in this area.

So, what to do? You can do your own research and preparation via the Internet. Millions do so, but that process can take weeks or even months. Instead, you could hire a career coach! The career coach’s job is to prepare you for the upcoming competition. Such coaching will shorten your search as well as teach you how to do things right and how to avoid making costly or even, at times, fatal mistakes. The coach might also assist you in negotiating a better compensation package, which will more than make up for what you paid for coaching services.

Think of it in terms of sports: All professional athletes have coaches even though professional athletes are highly skilled. Why is this? Since the coach has no bias, he will point out to you not only your strong points but also your areas needing improvement. He will guide you to attainment of your goal.

What’s important to the hiring manager?

A hiring manager considers several factors. For example, he will review your professional background and your career progression. He’s also going to question your accomplishments as described on your resume. Be prepared to elaborate on those accomplishments once prompted in your interview. In addition, of course, your education and credentials will likely weigh heavily.

It is a huge plus for you if you were referred by a trusted source. Why is that? It’s because the roles in the interview process are well defined: This is a transaction between you and the hiring manager. You are tantamount to a salesperson with the intent to sell yourself. The hiring manager is the buyer. His job is to select among several salesperson candidates. He is not inclined to buy everything the salesperson wants to sell. However, if a trusted person recommended you, then the hiring manager’s scrutiny is significantly minimized, thus dramatically increasing your chances of being hired.

What happens at an interview?

In preparing for a big interview, it might be helpful to take on the mind-set of someone who has just finished one. After an interview is over, you will have many questions in your mind: How did you do? Were you able to provide the right answers? Defend your liabilities? And convince the hiring manager that in your past positions you not only did what he needs done but, more important, also did it successfully? Was that job performance successful because you said so? Or because it was recognized by others? Recognition by others is what convinces a hiring manager that you performed with distinction.

Once the interview is over, you must follow up. Your thank-you letter should address any questions the interviewer may have about your candidacy. It’s up to you to find out what they are. When you’re asked, “So, do you have any questions for me?” ask the interviewer about your candidacy for the position. After all of this, the only big issue remaining to be addressed is whether you’d fit harmoniously into the organization. This fit issue has a lot to do with the chemistry between a candidate and a hiring manager.

So, why is the hiring process illogical?

As you can see, today’s hiring process is lengthy. A candidate uses logic throughout the application process, but the involvement of many people over such a long time can sometimes lead to an illogical result. Furthermore, in most of the cases of rejection, the truth is not revealed to the candidate because of the potential trigger of a lawsuit. Therefore, the only logical conclusion from the candidate’s point of view is that the process is illogical. However, an understanding of the entire process can equip you and help you through.

How The Illogical Process Of Hiring Can Help YOU

Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS 8 Storage Issues

Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS 8 Storage Issues image Apple iOS

Apple has been hit with a class action lawsuit claiming that the tech giant does not inform users on just how much storage the new operating system iOS 8 will take up, then urges them to buy more space via its iCloud service.

The case was filed in the Bay Area’s federal court on Tuesday, claiming that iOS 8 can take up to 23.1 percent of the advertised storage capacity on Apple devices, but only few users know that when they make their purchases.

The plaintiffs are seeking changes and damages to Apple policies under California state law, and hope to represent users who purchased Apple devices with iOS 8 already installed and users who upgraded to the latest version of the operating system.

William Anderson, a lawyer at Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm said in a statement, “We feel that there are a substantial number of Apple consumers that have been shortchanged, and we’ll be pursuing the claims vigorously.”

iOS 8 launched in September and initially had a few problems which were ironed out soon after with software patches. According to an Apple page for developers 64 percent of iOS devices run on iOS 8 now.

The plaintiff’s lawyers claim that Apple exploits the space constraints by prompting users to purchase iCloud subscriptions when they run out of storage.

“Using these sharp business tactics, defendant gives less storage capacity than advertised, only to offer to sell that capacity in a desperate moment, e.g., when a consumer is trying to record or take photos at a child or grandchild’s recital, basketball game or wedding,” plaintiffs allege in the complaint.

Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over iOS 8 Storage Issues

Wikipedia Pages For Startup Companies

Is it possible for startup companies to have Wikipedia pages? Using the company Instacart as an example, you will see that startup companies can qualify for Wikipedia pages.

Wikipedia pages can be difficult to create. In addition to understanding the guidelines for formatting, referencing, and style of writing, you must also understanding what qualifies a topic for inclusion on Wikipedia. It is difficult to create a new page on companies that have existed for many years. Logically, this means that it will be even more difficult to create Wikipedia pages for startup companies. However, many startups actually qualify for inclusion in Wikipedia and I will talk about how in the rest of this article.

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The first and most scrutinized guideline that you must familiarize yourself with is notability. Wikipedia defines notability as a “test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article. You can find out more about notability by reading my earlier post titled What It Takes To Be Notable For Wikipedia. To make things simpler, you can remember that notability can be reached by showing that the topic has received significant coverage in reliable and independent sources. This means that the news media needs to be writing about your company. Press releases do not count as Wikipedia pages for startup companies would be created by everyone as every startup company has issued its share of press releases. Independent coverage that talks in detail about your company is the key here. To remember these guidelines, you can refer to Wikipedia’s “answer to life, the universe, and everything.” This is a good summary of what you will need to qualify for inclusion on Wikipedia.

Qualifying your company:

If you want to create a Wikipedia page, then you need to make sure that you meet notability guidelines. The quickest way to check this is to use a Google search. For the sake of this article, I will use the company Instacart. After reading about them in a TechCrunch article a few hours before writing this, I did a quick Google search to see if they would meet the guidelines. A quick search of the company located numerous sources, the following of which would all qualify as significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the topic.

  • 7/10/13 – San Francisco Business Times – Sequoia, Burned By Webvan, Invests $8.5 Million In Grocery Startup Instacart.

  • 7/13/13 – San Francisco Business Times – Instacart Seeks To Dominate Online Grocery Delivery.

  • 9/17/13 – TechCrunch – Growing 10% Weekly, Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Expands To Chicago.

  • 11/7/2014 – Silcon Beat – Whole Foods Credits Delivery Startup Instacart With Sales Growth.

  • 12/5/14 – TechCrunch – Instacart Is Raising North of $100 Million At A $2 Billion Valuation.

  • 12/16/14 – OregonLive – Instacart, A Grocery Delivery App, Adds Green Zebra Grocery To Lineup.

  • 12/30/14 – Forbes – Grocery Delivery Startup Instacart Rings Up $210 Million Investment.

Looking at the above sources, there are five that I would use to start the article and establish notability. There are hundreds of other articles to sort through where I can pick and choose the best available sources to complete an article about the company. Now, a search of Wikipedia shows that an article was previously created for Instacart, but was deleted in February 2014 for failure to state its significance (basically a statement in the opening paragraph stating why the company is notable). This is not a notability issue, but rather an error by the creator for failing to show the notability of the company.

Wikipedia Pages For Startup Companies image 14542251403 e7f1b11780.jpg

Screenshot of startup company Instacart.

So, even though Instacart is a startup, I believe the company to be notable based on my experience as a professional Wikipedia editor. How the article must be written in order to establish that notability is a different story. I have created numerous Wikipedia pages for startup companies with references similar to Instacart. These articles are still alive and well on Wikipedia today and will likely remain there for the long haul based on the companies gaining more and more traction as time goes on.

Warning regarding duplicate sources:

When it comes to Wikipedia pages for startup companies, many feel like the fact they are covered in numerous reliable sources about the same topic qualifies them for inclusion. This is not necessarily so. Using the example on Instacart, there are dozens of sources that talk about the same topic (mainly funding). When it comes down to sourcing, these should only be weighed as a single source, despite how many different publications talk about the subject. So, make sure you use the best source available for that particular topic when citing Wikipedia.

Final words:

There are not many startup companies that qualify for Wikipedia pages. This is due to the lack of sources about them that can be used to create a page. So, do not get discouraged if there are no sources about your company. Reach out to the media to see if they would be willing to write an article about you, issue press releases, and continue to disrupt the field you are in so that you start to receive the type of coverage that will help qualify you for inclusion on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Pages For Startup Companies

Don’t Be A Robot, How To Bring Back The Human Side Of Customer Service

Recently, more and more people have been asking me if I’m a robot as I reply to chat messages. Just so you know, I’m not.

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What stuns me the most though is that in most cases, when I reply that I am in fact an actual human being, people won’t believe me. And I need to prove to them that I am in fact an actual human being.

If customers think we’re robots, it might just be because we’re acting like ones.

These experiences push me to wonder what kind of customer service world we’ve entered. Customers are so used to having to deal with robots that they don’t even consider talking to a real human being like a possibility anymore.

Sure, customer service automation has a lot of good sides, especially because it makes us save time and money. But in a lot of cases, this is happening to the detriment of any type of human connection between your company and your customers.

Maybe it’s time we start working on building meaningful relationships with our customers, between humans. Here’s how we could make this work.

1. Be more authentic

Customers are becoming increasingly vigilant about being marketed and advertised at in all the messages they receive. This means that they will filter out anything that they consider like untrustworthy: branded content, advertising, fake personalized customer support…

To avoid this, the only solution is to be as authentic as you can possibly be. Your customers should feel like even though messages are probably sent out to them through automated mechanisms, there is an actual human being behind it all they can reach out to if they need.

Start by keeping it simple and treat each and every one of your customers as an individual, not a ticket number, with his best interest at heart, not yours.

2. Engage the conversation

If customers think we’re robots, it might also be because more often than not, we act like ones, focusing on “closing” conversations in the quickest and most efficient manner. But customer requests shouldn’t be something that we want to go through as quickly as possible. Instead, we should consider each and every one of them as the beginning of possible conversations.

Sure you want to solve your customers’ issuers. But you don’t have to stop there. Why not take this contact opportunity to go further in the discussion? Ask them how their projects are going, if they need help on anything else or if they want to contribute to your next product development brainstorm.

By being straightforward and engaging in simple conversations, you might realize that the relationship you’re building with your customers goes way beyond this small bug you helped them fix yesterday.

3. Listen then listen better

Thankfully, there are things robots still can’t do. And this is what you need to focus on doing really really well if you want to build a meaningful relationship with your customers. Listening is one of these things.

You and only you, as a customer service representative and human being, have the ability to listen to your customers’ issues and adapt your responses to their specific needs, personalizing the solution and identifying the best options to go through.

By listening better to your customers, not only will they get a better solution for their issues but you will also be able to gain something out of all the efforts you’re putting in creating a very personalized experience for all of your customers.

Wrapping up

It turns out the battle against automated customer service shouldn’t be that hard after all. Robots still don’t know how to engage in meaningful conversations or listen to their customers’ needs (at least not yet). If being human is all it takes, we’re on the right path for success. Now all it takes is to prove it!

Don’t Be A Robot, How To Bring Back The Human Side Of Customer Service

Obama: U.S. Embassy In Iran Not Likely Anytime Soon

Obama: U.S. Embassy In Iran Not Likely Anytime Soon image 9971828196 c5be938cba k 900x600

President Barack Obama told NPR’s Steve Inskeep this week that while he would “never say never,” it is unlikely that a U.S. embassy will be opening in Iran’s capital Tehran before he leaves office.

When asked if the recent steps toward normalization of relations with Cuba announced earlier this month presaged a similar shift with Iran, Obama pointed to key differences between the two countries and their relationships with the United States.

“Cuba is a circumstance in which for 50 years, we have done the same thing over and over again and there hadn’t been any change,” Obama said, describing the island country as “a relatively tiny country that doesn’t pose any significant threat to us or our allies.”

Iran, on the other hand,

is a large, sophisticated country that has a track record of state-sponsored terrorism, that we known was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon – or at least the component parts that would be required to develop a nuclear weapon – that has engaged in disruptions to our allies, whose rhetoric is not only explicitly anti-American but also has been incendiary when it comes to its attitudes towards the state of Israel.

Inskeep’s interview covered a wide range of topics, including domestic politics and Obama’s relationship with Congress. While the Iran portion did not air until Wednesday morning, the full transcript has been available online since Monday and sparked a divided reaction among policy experts as well as people in Iran.

“If you look at the transcript of Obama’s interview with Steve Inskeep, it has to be one of the most conciliatory interviews on Iran that any U.S. president has given in the last 35 years,” Iran researcher Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment told NPR’s Robert Siegel on Tuesday. “And it kind of shows you where he’s at. Rapprochement with Iran or, at the minimum, a nuclear deal with Iran would be a significant part of Obama’s foreign policy legacy.”

The president made clear that he still holds to his campaign promise to engage with “rogue regimes” like Iran if it “advances American interests,” but pointed to elements within Iran that are committed to perpetuating the status quo for their own political benefit. If Iran is able to “break through [its] isolation,” the country could become “a very successful regional power.”

While Obama argued that such an outcome “would be good for everybody,” others are less convinced.

In an article headlined “Iran Is Getting Away With Murder,” The Atlantic ’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote Wednesday that “there isn’t much in the way of proof to suggest that Iran’s rulers are looking to join an international order whose norms are defined by the United States and its allies.” He pointed to Tehran’s support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria as evidence that it isn’t truly willing to work with the U.S. or within the framework of international law.

But Sadjadpour told NPR that along with the crash in oil prices and Western sanctions, Iranian support of Assad is helping to cripple the country’s economy. And in a letter to his counterparts, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that he is “confident that a comprehensive agreement is imminently within reach.”

But despite Obama’s conciliatory tone, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman denied on Tuesday that a U.S. embassy in Tehran might be possible any time soon, saying that “negotiations merely revolve on nuclear issues and have nothing to do with reopening of embassies.”

Obama: U.S. Embassy In Iran Not Likely Anytime Soon

China’s Huawei 2014 Smartphone Sales Increased By A Third

China’s Huawei 2014 Smartphone Sales Increased By A Third image Huawei

In 2014 Huawei Technology Co Ltd’s smartphone sales rose by nearly a third to $11.8 billion, displaying the telecoms firm’s continued increase in popularity.

The Chinese telecommunications firm shipped around 75 million smartphones in 2014 according to head of Huawei’s consumer business, Richard Yu who sent out a year-end memo to employees with the details.

Even though those figures represent more than a 40 percent increase year-over-year, the numbers are still behind the smartphone sales target of 80 million units that the company previously stated it was going for.

Samsung Electronics Co which is among the top ranked smartphone companies is likely to see unchanged figures in its shipments this year, whereas Apple Inc could have around a 20 percent growth increase after launching the iPhone 6 according to analysts.

However, all of these growth rates are small when compared to Xiaomi which sold 26 million smartphones during the first half of this year. If the company reaches its sales target of 60 million for 2014, the company will have more than tripled its 2012 sales of 18.7 million.

Private investors believe Xiaomi will continue to rise, as the Beijing-based company announced a new round of equity financing earlier this week valuing it at $45 billion, which makes it the most highly valued private technology company in the world.

According to analysts, close rival LG electronics may have seen its smartphone shipments increase by 26 percent this year. Alan Chen, Trendforce analyst said in a research note earlier in the month that Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo which recently acquired Motorola from Google will be in a battle to become the top Chinese smartphone vendor in 2014.

China’s Huawei 2014 Smartphone Sales Increased By A Third

Scott Disick’s Drinking Is Out Of Control

Scott Disicks Drinking Is Out Of Control image scott disick drinking

Scott Disick’s drinking is out of control once again and is causing quite the rift in his relationship with girlfriend Kourtney Kardashian. It’s not the first time that Disick’s drinking has caused an issue with his girlfriend and over the summer, she was said to have kicked him out of their rented house in the Hamptons because he was drunk.

According to recent news, Disick pledged to give up booze for the New Year, but wanted to have one last hurrah before the end of the year. Over the summer, Disick was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning after partying it up until the wee hours of the morning.

A week before Christmas, Disick left Kardashian alone to take care of their three children while he lied to her in order to go out partying. Reportedly, he snuck away in order to go to a “lingerie bash”.

A source revealed, “He told her he had to go out with French Montana. He just wanted to go get wasted. He looked so out of it and was around women wearing nothing.”

Scott Disick’s drinking spiraled out of control when he first lost both of his parents in the same year. Disick was said to have let it get the best of him, causing trouble with his romance with Kourtney Kardashian.

Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian share three children together, Mason, Penelope and their newest addition Reign Aston. Most recently, the couple were said to be bickering over his late parents’ estate. He had procrastinated in cleaning out the place following their deaths and Kardashian reportedly pushed him to try and get him to take care of his parents’ affairs before he was ready.

Another source said, “What she is worried about is how Khloe enables Scott. She doesn’t like it that Khloe encourages him to drink and be the life of the party, especially now that he’s a father all over again. Khloe isn’t the one who Scott comes home to in a drunken stupor. She doesn’t see that side of him and how he’s angry and falling all over the place, waking up the kids and scaring Kourtney.”

[Photo Credit: Instagram]

Scott Disick’s Drinking Is Out Of Control

Tesla Developing Charger That Connects To Car Like A Metal Snake

Tesla Developing Charger That Connects To Car Like A Metal Snake image Tesla charger

Elon Musk is known for thinking big but also doing big things and his recent tweets on Twitter are just another reflection of that. The Tesla CEO tweeted earlier today that the company is actually in the process of developing technology that would allow chargers to automatically snake out of the wall and plug into your car to recharge it.

This would eliminate the need for you to manually connect the Tesla charger when a drivers Model S gets back to their garage.

The technology would possibly resemble the snake-like robotic arms made famous by Spiderman comic book villain Doctor Octopus. The new charger would make the process of charging Tesla vehicles less of a hassle and more convenient.

Additionally, it would make charging vehicles fool-proof because how can you forget to plug in a charger that automatically charges your car?

Backwards compatibility is also a nice touch, as Elon stated the Tesla charger would be able to work with all existing Model S cars not just the newer ones that are coming out. Tesla really goes out of their way to bring as many benefits as possible to its new customers as well as old ones.

It was also announced just a few weeks ago that Tesla launched their battery swap program which also works with existing cars and earlier this year the company introduced a warranty extension that applied to Model S cars that were already shipped.

Tesla Developing Charger That Connects To Car Like A Metal Snake