Archive for the ‘pair’ tag
And sometimes we have the responsibility for things we really don’t do well at all. In these cases, work becomes a drogue (that’s the parachute deployed behind a speeding vehicle to brake it).
After a while, this leads to a lot of blurred lines, and we can’t really articulate what our professional sweet spot truly is.
But then there are those intoxicating moments when you’re doing what you know you’re meant to do. Work becomes pleasure, it is like a drug you want to keep taking. Alas, those moments seem few and far between.
So, let’s pretend that it’s possible to build your career on your sweet spot (note: I believe we should go beyond pretending!). How do you identify what transforms your work from a drag to a drug?
- It “feels” like a fit. The best analog is a great pair of shoes. There are rows and rows of (shoes/work roles), but then you slip on a pair and, as you walk in it, you KNOW. This. Is. The. Fit.
- You make impact. When you’re working in your sweet spot, your strengths are at full flow. You’re not just filling time, you’re making a difference.
- You hear feedback. The people around you notice and affirm what you’re doing.
Work that is a drag or a drogue means you’re investing your time and effort into something that diminishes your impact on the world. And lessens your own happiness. Is that a good choice?
As a professional, your first and highest priority should be to discover your purpose and areas of genuine strength. To get sold on yourself. It may take some time to shape an optimal career track around them. But if you don’t do this, guess what? No-one else is going to do it for you.
They’re happy to trade you their money for your hours. Even if it’s a drag.
Decide. You’re going to fill someone’s else’s role. Or you’re going to Role Your Own.
(Image credit: Wikimedia)
Is your work a drag? Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy!
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The Koss Striva Headphones Stream Wireless Tunes from Your Gadgets or the Internet Right to Your Ears [Stuff We Like]
A few months back, the folks at Koss sent us a pair of their Striva Pro headphones to try out, and after putting them through their paces, I can say they’re some of the best wireless headphones I’ve ever used—they sound great, let me listen to music from my phone, computer, or even streaming from the internet, all without wires, anywhere in range of my Wi-Fi network. Even so, great audio and convenience come with a catch. More »
It’s not often you get to interview a nuclear engineer and a physician who run a tiny vaporizer factory out of an oversized garage outside of San Francisco so today is your lucky day. Two weeks ago we spent some time with the guys from Thermovape, a homegrown, self-funded hardware company that just happens to produce some of the coolest and most effective vaporizers I’ve seen.
For the uninitiated, the product is called the Thermo Essence Thermovape, a smoking cessation tool and “botanical vaporizer.” It’s designed for vaporizing the essentials out of botanicals like pot and tobacco as well as and oils. It’s not smoking – the convection vaporizer pulls everything important out of the materials, leaving behind desiccated leaves.
Founded by best buds Noah Minskoff and Nathan Terry, the company has about ten employees, including a pro machinist. The pair turned to vaporizers when they saw that the market was wide open. More importantly, Noah’s mother died of lung cancer and he was looking for a simple way to help people stop smoking. The Thermovape offers the nicotine dosage of a cigarette without the carcinogenic byproducts.
Whatever your take on drug use, these guys are real hardware entrepreneurs on a mission. They are completely self-reliant and haven’t accepted any funding, partially because the VC world is wary of these sorts of businesses. But, as Minskoff pointed out, this isn’t a bong factory. It’s a precision machine shop that uses some amazingly complex and expensive tools to make a product that lasts.
You can see how the pair work on their vapes in this episode of Makers and look for more hardware startups coming up in the next few weeks. If you have something cool you want to show us, don’t forget to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line MAKERS.
RIM is wounded, and predators are starting to pick up the scent.
RIM has attracted the attention of IBM, which may be interested in buying RIM’s Enterprise Services unit, a pair of sources told Bloomberg.
Enterprise Services is RIM’s bread-and-butter. The link between BlackBerry devices and the software that manages them, the unit generated at least $4.1 billion in revenue last year. It would take a pretty compelling offer from IBM for RIM to part with the unit — which is why the sale seems so unlikely.
(And if you doubt the importance of that $4.1 billion number, consider that it’s almost the exact value of RIM’s recent market cap estimates. So, yeah — Enterprise Services is pretty important.)
RIM, naturally, isn’t saying much about the report. ”We don’t comment on rumors and speculation,” Nick Manning, a company spokesman, told VentureBeat this morning. IBM also gave a “no comment” on the rumors.
While there’s very little to go on in the report, we do know that RIM CEO Thorstein Heins is extremely unlikely to go for the deal like this — at least at this point. Right now RIM is more interested in seeing how well its BlackBerry 10 devices do next year, so don’t expect any high-profile sells anytime soon.
Photo: Shutterstock/Joanne Weston
Filed under: mobile
In a stunt that almost looks like a protest through the right pair of eyes, Draftfcb Chicago copywriter Terin Izil is raising money for kids with muscular dystrophy by limiting herself to "eating, drinking, wearing, and maintaining personal hygiene" with only Olympic-branded products. Given how insane the IOC has gotten over the years, this is pretty much how everyone attending the Olympics is supposed to live, too. Izil is keeping a blog of her experience, which she calls the 5 Ring Diet, and frequently encourages both visitors and sponsors to donate towards her $25,000 goal for Camp Promise, an organization she co-founded to help send kids with muscular dystrophy to summer camp. We should all pitch in and help her out, if only to spare her the indignity of having to fly United one more time. Via AgencySpy.
Driving around recently in my hometown of Woodinville, WA, gave me a pair of contrasting marketing experiences I wanted to share with you: Scenario #1: I was driving to the grocery story along a two-lane curving road when I came up on a fellow in dark clothes, standing in the shade, probably 30 or…
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I’m not a fan of the, “_____ is dead” statements, but recently a pair of articles by Brian Millar (@arthurascii) claiming the end of branding caught my eye.
- Branding Talk Isn’t Helping Your Company: Here’s What Should Replace It
- Why Branding Is an Artifact of the Past
At the core, Millar argues that because companies can no longer control their brands—and, more importantly, consumer perceptions of them—that organizations should forget about active “branding” and instead focus on delivering quality experiences via great products. In other words: Walk the walk instead of talking the talk.
While I agree that the social business landscape makes it critical for companies to deliver on brand promises, I simply can’t get behind the idea that brand marketing as a practice should be left in the dust.
Just like many other business strategies, tools and tactics that have faced death’s door (including branding, which already faced its Monty Python-esque “not dead yet” moment back in 2009—see here and here), branding isn’t dead—it’s simply evolving.
- True: Traditional branding methods that center on creating the perfect tagline and ad campaign don’t cut it anymore.
- Truthier: Traditional branding principles—understanding and articulating your brand’s promise, differentiation, values, story—are potentially now more important than ever to breed customer loyalty and evangelism.
Successful brands today aren’t driven from the top down. But they can be driven from the inside out.
“You now have to decide what image you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the marketplace.”
To become a company that customers love and are loyal to, your brand vision must permeate the entire culture, and be shared in everything from product development to delivery. From the R&D team, to customer service reps, to the board.
“Perception is reality. Whether you and your business are engaged in the online world or not, with every action you take and decision you make, you are either building or weakening your brand. This presents enormous challenges, but even more significant are the opportunities … for brands that have the confidence to ‘bare it all’ and connect with audiences in more authentic and personal ways.”
Only by consistently delivering on one’s brand promise can organizations hope to expose audiences outside company walls—customers, shareholders, potential employees, etc.—to the culture that its founders and team worked so hard to create.
And while each individual’s unique experiences will shape his or her perception of your brand, by actively focusing on what this should be—to the point of making sure that it’s truly what your brand is—you can still have a heavy hand in guiding those experiences.
Beyond brand awareness, recognition and preference …
Outside of “feel-goodness,” branding has a far-reaching impact as the foundation of integrated inbound marketing efforts. In fact, over on his blog, Rand Fishkin (@randfish) recently discussed the importance of brand recognition in driving clickthroughs on search engine results, per a Microsoft study.
From a future-success standpoint, I look to Umair Haque (@umairh), who talks about winning companies being those that aim toward Betterness—those that exist for more than making a profit, to truly improve the lives of their customers and communities. Do you think this is possible without a clear brand vision, a purpose, and a dedicated team to deliver upon it?
A tweet I came across recently from Chris Winfield (@chriswinfield) summed this all up quite nicely:
You’re the mother lion and your brand is the cub. Protect it!
— Chris Winfield (@chriswinfield) August 3, 2012
What are your thoughts on the relevance of branding today? I’d love to hear them.
Last night’s announced partnership between Square and Starbucks came as a surprise, but after hearing chief executives Jack Dorsey and Howard Schultz discuss how the arrangement came to be, it seems like one of the most logical unions between tech and business in recent memory.
The pair spoke with a small group of journalists at a New York City hotel this morning, clearly anticipating that we’d have many pressing questions after last night’s news.
Schultz kicked off the conversation, saying that he hopes to do two things with the Square partnership: enhance the Starbucks customer experience, and also shine a light on Square. As part of the deal, Starbucks will invest $25 million in Square’s next round and Schultz will join Square’s board. At this point, he already sounds like a believer in Square’s potential to change business forever.
Starbucks has already seen massive success with its mobile app, which has processed more than 60 million transactions (more than 1 million a week) since its debut a year ago. That success made Starbucks the target of businesses hoping to jump into mobile payments.
“As a result of the high degree of attachment around mobile payments at Starbucks, over the past six months or so, we’ve literally been contacted by most of the high-profile tech companies who have been chasing ways to monetize mobile payments and payments in general,” Schultz said. Starbucks ended up meeting with all of those potential partners, but the company’s head of digital strategy Adam Brotman eventually directed Schultz to Square.
Schultz said he contacted Jack Dorsey to get a handle on Square: “Once Jack and I sat down, it was very obvious to me, that the technology, innovation and the lens they were looking at this was highly compatible to the future state of payments in general, and was a natural opportunity for us to create this partnership.”
Dorsey echoed Schultz’s excitement. “This is definitely an epic partnership — certainly for Square — but I think for both companies… it has a definite positive impact on the world,” Dorsey said.
The Square CEO said he has admired by how Starbucks has always been highly focused on customer experience: it’s not just about shilling coffee. He said he appreciated how Starbucks also paid attention to how drinks are served, as well as the experience of entering and leaving a store.
The pair proceeded to have a fairly free-wheeling conversation with the press. Here’s a collection of the best bits:
- I asked if Starbucks will be paying the same 2.75 percent processing fee as other Square users, but Schultz deflected my question, saying that the company will see savings with Square compared to its current credit card processor. Dorsey noted that Square has worked hard to simplify the many fees associated with processing credit cards.
- Starbucks won’t have to make any infrastructure changes to support Square, since it has already equipped its stores with 2D bar-code scanners for its apps. Dorsey says the Pay With Square apps will be able to generate barcodes to work with those scanners.
- Starbucks plans to roll out Square across the U.S. before the holiday season.
- Dorsey said he was “thrilled” about getting Schultz on his company’s board, as he was already pursuing Schultz separately to be Square’s independent board director. (Getting a celebrity executive like Schultz on the board would be pretty thrilling to any tech startup, we’re guessing.)
- Starbucks will “promote the story of Square” within its stores, Schultz said. He also added that Starbucks wants to keep the Square playing field level, so Starbucks won’t prevent other businesses from using Square (including other coffee shops).
- Both Dorsey and Schultz envision a future where the technology of payments fades away into the background. Schultz wistfully hoped for a day when you can have a more human connection to your barista.
- Schultz says Starbucks has been testing ways to e-mail and phone in orders, but it’s currently too complicated to work. “I don’t see that evolving anytime soon,” he said.
- Starbucks won’t be taking advantage of Pay With Square’s ability to pay for products just using your face, or as you’re walking up to a store. For now, Square will only be used at Starbucks’ registers.
- Dorsey called the deal “pioneering,” and said he was interested in future partnerships with large, medium, and small businesses.
- Starbucks’ $25 million investment in Square will be mostly used for hiring purposes and pushing the company’s international expansion, Dorsey said.
- When asked if the Square partnership will eliminate jobs at the cash register, Schultz simply said “no.” Instead, he believes that he’ll help to create more jobs by promoting Square.
- For now, Square and Starbucks’ loyalty program will remain separate apps.
Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat
Filed under: VentureBeat
The big pull with Ge.tt is that it works in real time: Once a user selects a file to transfer, the file is uploaded in the background, allowing for instant sharing. While Ge.tt works without them, the extensions take simplicity to the next level by working within the email services.
The strategy behind the move is simple: Ge.tt wants more people to use the service, and there are few better ways to do that than by going after Gmail users. (This, as Get.tt co-founder and CEO Tobias Baunbæk notes in a statement, has been the idea behind the service all along.)
Ge.tt also offers paid options for storage demands higher than 2GB, a strategy that’s worked well for rivals like Dropbox. According to the Ge.tt homepage, the service’s 802,105 users have shared nearly 7.5 million files so far.
Founded in 2010, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based startup raised $435,000 from London’s Atomico Capital last November.
Filed under: VentureBeat
If you’d been following Mat Honan’s harrowing story this weekend, you’ve learned that the Wired writer was completely hacked by a pair of 19-year-olds who targeted him because he had a cool Twitter handle. Honan has updated his tale and posted it on Wired where he goes through the seemingly innocent processes used to eventually wipe out his laptop hard drive, erase his digital identity, and essentially break the trust we all place in the cloud.
Like most hacks, the methodology was mundane. The hackers essentially reset his iCloud password, giving them access to other accounts including Gmail (which they erased), his idevices (which they locked), and his laptop (which they wiped remotely). It was a series of dick moves generated by two kids who had little understanding of what they did and clearly panicked. Then they reached out to Honan to explain their actions. They told him “I honestly didn’t have any heat towards you before this. i just liked your username like I said before.”
Honan’s biggest failure here is that he didn’t back up. Because they remotely wiped his hard drive, all of the photos of his new baby daughter are gone as is most of his laptop data. It’s a lesson in data management: we can trust the cloud for a while, but always assume it will be gone. Always, always, always back up.
In the end we’re actually lucky that Honan got hit. He can raise a stink and Apple and Amazon and Google will listen to his tale of woe and hopefully implement improvements that will prevent this from happening again. But will it happen again? Absolutely. Passwords are like door latches – a dedicated opponent will defeat them eventually. They make us all feel safe, they encourage a sense of stability, and they more often than not offer some form of security theatre rather than real safety. But they’re the best we have. We have to hope that no one has “heat towards us” and that Honan’s terrible story – and it pains me to think that he’s lost his baby photos permanently – is a lesson to us all.