The Bay Area has long been an incubator for great startups, predominantly those in high-tech. But which ones are worth watching?
The Bay Area has long been an incubator for great startups, predominantly those in high-tech. But which ones are worth watching?
This weekend, I’m going on a trip to California. It’s my first time on the West Coast, the first time I will ever see the Pacific Ocean and Redwood forests. I’m excited beyond measure, because one of the things I love to do most is travel.
Public figures walk a fine line between revered role models and vilified by their once-adoring public for any transgression. The pressures and stress of fame has caused dozens of celebrities to spiral into depression, substance abuse and suicide, but some have been able to resurrect their failing careers and find a second wind. Along the way, they have taught us a thing or two of coming back from the brink. Here are five lessons learned from celebrities about repairing a reputation.
1. Johnny Cash
Out of the cotton fields of Arkansas, Johnny Cash revolutionized country music with his sonorous voice and relentless rhythms, but the trappings and temptations of stardom led to a drug and alcohol addiction that ruined his personal and professional lives. With the help of his eventual wife June Carter, Cash got clean, re-committed himself to his Christian faith, and set about reviving his musical career. The renaissance introduced Cash to new generations of fans, teaming him up with producer Rick Rubin for the critically-acclaimed American Recordings album series.
How did Cash come back? A combination of a dedicated soulmate who saw him through his bleakest and lowest moments, his Christian beliefs, and a legendary music producer ensured that Cash always had the tools and drive to leave behind his reputation as an alcoholic and pill popper.
2. Britney Spears
Imagine being only 18 years old, and watching your first album become the best selling debut by a female artist of all time. In 1999, Britney Spears launched a new wave of pop music with her ‘girl next door’ look and effervescent songs. However, eight years later, a troubled marriage and other family issues led to a well-publicized meltdown. Spears shaved her hair and attacked photographers, leading her then-husband to receive custody of her children, and her to be committed to a psychiatric ward. Since then, a change in her music management and conservatorship of assets by her father and her attorney has seen her stock and credibility rise dramatically.
What was Spears’ secret? She has evolved her image, going from coy schoolgirl to a sultry sex goddess as her fanbase matured. Psychiatric and legal counseling put distance between the people who facilitated her 2007-2008 meltdown, helping her focus on repairing her mental health and entertainment career.
The American socialite suffered a double-whammy of bad publicity, when not only was a sex tape of her leaked by Vivid Entertainment in 2007, Kim Kardashian dropped charges against the adult entertainment company and settled for $5 million. Four years later, Kardashian’s extravagant and exorbitant marriage to Kris Humphries of the New York Nets ended after just 72 days. Despite the personal crises, she’s recovered to launch a number of fragrances, endorsed startup companies, starred in a popular reality TV show about her family, and entered into a relationship with Kanye West.
Kim Kardashian has benefited from having keen business acumen and a family with very deep pockets. Even as she’s struggled with legal issues – her marriage to Humphries was not officially terminated until April 2013, and she and her sisters were sued for false marketing by one of their endorsed companies – Kardashian business and entertainment network reaches far and wide enough to cover these minor pitfalls.
4. Robert Downey, Jr
“Iron Man” had everything going for him in the mid-1990s – a string of successful movies, an Oscar nomination, and a guest spot on Ally McBeal. But a drug addiction that Downey claimed started at the age of 8 derailed him, landing him in jail on numerous occasions and making him persona non grata in Hollywood. After more than five years of rehab and jail, Downey was ready for a change. With financial help from Mel Gibson, Downey gradually pulled himself back into the entertainment world, eventually hitting it out of the park with lead roles in the Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes movies.
For Robert Downey, Jr., repairing his reputation came from hitting rock bottom. He was tired of the cycle of jail-rehab-release, and knew that if he didn’t put his addiction behind him once and for all, he would have no future worth living for.
5. David Hasselhoff
From Baywatch to Knight Rider, David Hasselhoff was the man for 80s TV. A music and theater career, and willingness to poke fun at his most famous roles, ensured that even as those shows became examples of the campiness of the decade, Hasselhoff’s popularity endured. That was until 2007, when his daughter uploaded a video of her very drunk father failing to simply eat a hamburger. Hasselhoff’s struggles with alcoholism continued even after losing visitation rights to his children, being rushed to hospital on numerous occasions after consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol. Since then, the Hoff has staged a comeback, hosting a number of television shows and events, and becoming a judge on both America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent.
Much like Robert Downey, Jr., Hasselhoff’s redemption came from the humiliation of his daughter berating him for his alcoholism. His natural gift for entertainment has helped him move on from that low point, and enjoy new found success.
There’s an app for everything, even for improving mental health. However, with so many options available, how can someone know which is best? Make sure to always check reviews, testimonials and even ask doctors for recommendations. Most people are attached to their phones 24/7, so it’s wise to make use of that dependence and download an app or two that can improve mental health.
There’s a variety of different quality apps available, some are backed by professionals, and others are more user-friendly than the rest. Choose one based on comfort and credentials for the best results. Here are four of the leading apps geared towards mental wellness.
This might not seem like a mental health app at first blush, but it certainly is. This app utilizing deep breathing techniques to help users fight anxiety and stress, but it doesn’t just provide advice. There’s a very user-friendly interface that can actually monitor breathing patterns and provide real feedback. Breath control is a natural, very effective way to address mental health issues.
2. eCBT Calm
Based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this app provides a bevy of tips for using relaxation techniques to help with stress, anxiety and even minor panic attacks. It’s scientifically backed, regularly updated and there are methods for every person. When put on a smartphones home screen, it’s an easy way to remind people to check in with their mental health throughout the day.
3. Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a great tool to help someone go to sleep and sleep soundly. Sleep is paramount for a holistic healthy life, and Andrew Johnson’s soothing voice helps users practice the tools they need to sleep without the aid of medication. It also includes an alarm clock that gradually wakes the mind, so that users can start each day refreshed and on a peaceful note.
4. Magic Window–Living Pictures
While this isn’t technically marketed as a mental health app, many research studies show that looking at nature (even virtually) can reduce stress and induce a calmness. Taking a break throughout the day to look at soothing natural photos is a great way to force someone’s mind off those TPS reports waiting to be filed. Instead of reaching for the pot of coffee or browsing Facebook, spend a few moments being whisked away to jungles or beaches by way of this app.
No app can do it all, but these can certainly provide avenues for a healthier mind–and life. Try out other online mental health resources to make a daily mental checkup easy.
Navigating the jungle of the entertainment world is a challenge all its own. There are media appearances, promotional obligations, studio/record label contracts, and millions upon millions of fans all demanding your attention. Taxingas all that is, some women have made the transition from celebrity to businesswomen, augmenting their entertainment abilities with a corporate nous, ensuring that their 15 minutes of fame becomes a lifetime. Here are five women conquering pop culture and the boardroom.
A long time ago, Beyonce Knowles was a member of R&B group Destiny’s Child. Today, she’s a franchise. Despite the group’s Grammy wins and success, Beyonce went through a period of depression due to interpersonal conflicts and her then-boyfriend leaving her. She rediscovered herself in acting and a wildly successful solo career. Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z cemented her pop culture domination, but that was just the beginning.
Starting in 2002, Beyonce signed promotional deals that saw her share camera time with other celebrities such as Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and David Beckham. She’s launched her own line of fragrances, and inked an endorsement deal with Pepsi worth $50 million. In 2005, she created a foundation to support victims of Hurricane Katrina. With her mother, she opened a cosmetology center to raise funds for victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
2. Jennifer Lopez
In 1986, Jennifer Lopez had a minor role in the film My Little Girl. Her parents were disappointed in her ensuing interest in entertainment, but in 2001, she became the first woman to have a number one album (J.Lo) and film (The Wedding Planner) in the same week. She has broken records on the Billboard album chart, records for female singers, and records for Hispanic entertainers: she has sold over 75 million albums, and her films have grossed over $2 billion.
Lopez was chosen to be the global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris, representing the brand in its global ventures. A similar deal with Venus tied in with Lopez’s love of charity work, donating money to advancing the prospects of impoverished Hispanic children. She launched her own fragrance in 2011, selling 51,000 bottles and making almost $3 million. Later that year, she started a clothing & accessories line, and a separate line for home accessories. Fiat, the Italian car manufacturer, signed Lopez on for promotional deals. She has also produced television shows, reality TV shows, and movies in which she has featured.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Starting a talk show on television is one thing, but becoming a billionaire and being ranked by TIME magazine as the most influential woman in the world is another. Born into poverty, she revolutionized the talk show format, providing a more intimate and honest format than the salacious and sensationalist style of her peers. After The Oprah Winfrey Show went national and generated astronomical figures, Winfrey negotiated an ownership stake in the show and started her own production company. Based on a Forbes’ magazine estimate, Winfrey would be worth approximately $3 billion today.
She has launched a film production company, authored her own books, publishes magazines, has her own radio channel, and coordinates her empire with a website that receives 6 million views a month.
Kim Kardashian netted tons of bad publicity for her sex tape and scandalously quick marriage, but rehabilitated her image with successful business ventures, such as launching clothing and fragrance lines. Co-founding the online shoe retailer ShoeDazzle, and signing on as a fashion consultant and stylist, opened Kim Kardashian up to a new audience and demographic, one that has also seen her endorse a Los Angeles-based confectionary.
Furthermore, she’s launched a fitness DVD, landed a role in a television series, and hosted Wrestlemania XXIV and America’s Next Top Model. She’s produced TV shows, authored an autobiography and launched her own fragrance line.
5. Serena Williams
Playing sports is a dream most of us have when we’re children, but only a woman like Serena Williams could have taken her dreams beyond the courts and into the boardroom. Critically regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time, she’s won over $40 million in prize money alone and dozens of titles and championships.
Outside of tennis, Williams has fashion lines with Nike and her own line of accessories and jewelry. She and her twin sister Venus became part owners of the Miami Dolphins franchise and created a secondary school in Matooni, Kenya. She’s authored books and became the first female sports woman to endorse Tampax.
It’s staggering to think of all the ways technology has not only changed the world, but redefined our very lives. Not checking email, not updating Facebook, not sending out a Tweet and not searching for something online is unheard of. But does this strange new world come at a cost? Have our lives become too dependent on computers and the Internet doing things for us? Is technology making things easier or making people crazy?
The answer, somewhat unsurprisingly, is more complicated than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
It’s easy to think of the best and worst examples: technology in medicine can save lives and diagnose diseases, but it also gives us violent video games and Internet addictions. For every connection made online – be it a new job, a new friend, a spouse, or finding a life changing book – there’s someone who uses the Internet to stalk a woman or scam a victim.
The positive effects of technology are undeniable, and it would be unfair to sweep them under the carpet, or inaccurate to say that they are completely negated by the negative effects. Countless lives have been saved and improved by technological innovation. Relationships have been mended thanks to new, online mental health services (as seen here, for example). Advancements beyond the dreams of the generation a mere twenty years ago have given us longer life, more health, increased communication, and better prospects for social progress. The Arab Spring would not have dethroned oppressive and cruel governments if not for social media.
Technology can also help us physically. Websites and applications let us watch our calories, tracking what we eat and how much we burn when we exercise. People can do this to simply watch their weight, or as a tool in the recovery from diabetes or obesity. We can find new exercise routines, new gyms and new friends to train with, without spending a single dime on a personal trainer.
…and the Downsides
But the coin has another side. Communicating via text message and Facebook post robs us of the personal, nuanced touch of human interaction. Busy, tired parents wanting to distract a restless baby might simply open up a video on their iPad instead of taking the time to find out why their child is antsy. We are incessantly bombarded with ads, videos, posts, messages, e-mails, updates and Tweets, all vying for our attention and our money. Concentrating on any one thing online is impossible because there is always something else tugging away at the corner of our eye.
The anonymity provided by a computer screen can also bring out our worst impulses. Everything from hate speech to sexual denigration has a home online, and there is always a community ready to feed and goad the bases of desires beyond healthy limitations.
Naturally, this does not make technology or the Internet inherently evil; but as with everything in life, whatever provides the most liberation and benefit can also be abused.
There’s been a lot of time, money and energy put into the company website–only to find that it runs about as fast as a turtle. What’s causing this slow-moving phenomenon?
Customer intelligence is a fancy way of saying the collection and analysis of customer information. It’s what businesses are supposed to be doing with all that data they collect from online forms and surveys. Being intelligent about customers is the best way to improve business and the bottom line. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a tendency to collect information and then lock it away in a file cabinet. To make the most of information, follow these 6 basic rules.
1. Know What You Want Before Gathering Information
Every single time information is gathered, whether it’s a new customer enrollment form or signing someone up for an online newsletter, consider the information being asked. The biggies like age, gender and zip code should also be included, but consider what will be done with it. What does it mean if 80 percent of customers are women? Marketing towards the fairer sex better be improved.
2. Use the Write Database Management
The “right” database depends on the business, market and employees. For instance, The Raiser’s Edge is the database of choice for many non-profits. If a business owner isn’t sure which organizational system is best, consider working with a company like NetAssets.net.au to take over things. They can teach businesses how to properly gather and sort data.
3. Remember the CRM
Customer intelligence (CI) is part of a larger structure: customer relationship management (CRM). Remember that managing relationships is at the heart of CI. For example, what about those customers who walk into a brick and mortar shop and leave without buying anything? They don’t exist in CRMs alone since there’s no sales receipt, but considering their purpose or CI can lead to better marketing and management.
4. Reference Data + Transactional Data
A basic formula is reference data (factual information about people like their zip code) plus transactional data (what, when and where they purchase) equals customer intelligence. The two can’t exist separately and come up with the same equation. Gather both to build a portfolio of who customers are.
5. Predict the Future
The goal of CI is to be able to predict the behavior and future actions of customers. That’s important for a business to plan future marketing campaigns, merchandise and basically how the business will run. Knowing the future isn’t just for psychics–it’s a basic tenet of customer intelligence.
6. Track it Right
There are many ways to track CI, including speech analytics for customers who talk to businesses over the phone. Oftentimes, that’s why large businesses let customers know that calls “maybe monitored for quality control purposes.” Technically, yes, they’re monitoring the quality of customer service, but more importantly, they’re using the call for speech analytics and CI. A software program is searching for the use of key words during the conversation.
Click tracking is another popular way to come up with CI. These programs monitor what links, products or services a person clicks on while browsing the business website. Trends will appear and businesses can figure out what IP addresses (for example, customers in Los Angeles) are favoring certain pages.
Surprisingly, one of the least used sources for big businesses is customer satisfaction surveys. These things take a lot more time, effort and money than simply installing a program to monitor clicks or key words in speech. It’s the most obvious (and non-sneaky) form of CRM, but it’s also the least cost-effective solution.
Start planning today for a better business future. Need some help? Going to a pro is a great way to form a foundation. Don’t leave CI to chance, because it’s not going to happen on its own.
Increasing cellular network speeds and accessible costs have been a game changer for businesses, especially for app companies that are building software to take advantage of impressive 4G technology. Companies are less tethered to their computers, relying increasingly on mobile devices to perform complex tasks. 4G connectivity and upcoming high-speed networks are revolutionizing business. Take a look at these four industries that are making leaps and bounds using 4G.
1. Cloud services
Localized hard drive storage has its risks. Data is not secure if it is stored all one place, as it may fall victim to theft or natural disasters. Businesses are relying more on cloud services to store important client information, track sales, share documents, and keep data backups. 4G makes cloud storage an increasingly better solution for companies. The high speed of 4G allows for greater traffic, as employees upload content and collaborate on documents.
The gaming, film, and music world are growing exponentially due to 4G connectivity and speeds. MobileCasino.net allows gamers to easily play addictive games like poker, blackjack, and roulette from their tablets or phones. Streaming video and music allow people to access a wealth of information within seconds. Even books can be downloaded over 4G connections from local library systems. This has been a great boon to people with long commutes, or those who need to wait for long periods of time. Instead of sitting with nothing to do, one can enjoy hours of entertainment from their phone or tablet.
3. Mobile Point of Sale
Vendors at community fairs, freelancers, and retail storefronts are now able to use their mobile devices to process payments over 4G networks. Mobile point of sale apps allow businesses an enormous amount of flexibility. Industries that used to rely on cash transactions can now easily accept credit cards, even in remote areas, as long as they are connected to a cell network. These apps can even perform very complex tasks, like tracking inventory, creating live revenue reports, open cash drawers, and print receipts wirelessly.
4. App Development
App development and programming used to be a niche specialty, with only a few businesses investing in their own custom apps. With advances in cellular connectivity, 4G is creating a greater buzz around app development and in-house apps. Business reliance on mobile devices has created a high-profit and robust industry around app creation, mobile deployment, and innovation. As app developers take advantage of 4G, we will see even better games, business tools, and cloud services become available.
Cell phones have become essential in everyday life. People use them for everything from sending emails to browsing the Internet to using them for their original purpose: phone calls. One of the major advancements in cellular technology is GPS capable devices.
But, when those turn-by-turn directions disappear due to a dead cell phone battery, it’s essential to have a few back up options. Here are a few sure-fire ways to get your vacation back on the right track, should you lose your way.
1. Bring A Backup Charger
A great tip while traveling by way of cell phone GPS is to always have a backup charger. Running software continuously on any wireless device can drain the battery and GPS programs are not exception. Luckily there are many great backup-charging options for any and every cell phone on the market.
Backup chargers work much the same way a standard wall charger does. The charging unit specific to the cell phone model simply plugs into the same charging port, but instead of charging off household power, the phone receives its charge from a small, easily transportable battery pack. Just keep in mind the backup charger itself needs to be charged prior to use.
2. Bring A Backup Map
Cell phone GPS programs can be great. Not only do they provide turn-by-turn and spoken directions, they can also find alternate travel routes. But, when that cell phone runs out of juice, a paper map can mean the difference between reaching the destination on time or getting lost on the road.
Traditional maps are taken for granted in terms of today’s technology. Because of this, a surprising amount of people don’t know how to properly read them. When a paper map is plan B, make sure the map legend, topography, and the general area covered are understood. It’s also extremely helpful to have a compass on hand to accompany the map.
3. It Never Hurts To Ask
It might be embarrassing, but if all else fails, it never hurts to ask a local for directions. Whether it’s a small town, big city, or a South African Safari, locals are always a great resource in times of need.
Simply pull off the road and kindly explain the situation. Most people pride themselves in their hometown sense of direction and will go above and beyond to get visitors and tourists where they need to be.
Relying on a cell phone’s GPS isn’t necessarily a bad thing if there’s a backup plan. The above tips will help anyone traveling breathe a sigh of relief when that cell phone is on its last leg. So, be prepared with backup power, bring a traditional map, and don’t be embarrassed to ask for directions.
However, if you’re really concerned about getting lost and think it would be a disaster should it happen, you may want to consider something like a structured South African Safari, an adventure that has a guide to help you along.