~ Naomi Osaka’s Entry Into the NFT Game Is Not What You’d Expect ~

Another day, another NFT. This time tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has joined the NFT game, but it’s not in the way you would expect. Osaka together with her sister Mari Osaka is auctioning off a set of original art.

The collection titled “The Colors of Naomi Osaka” features artwork by Mari that showcases “the many shades of Naomi’s personality and character through heartfelt bursts of color.” Each artwork is signed by both sisters and will be auctioned off on Basic.Space. However, a sixth and final artwork will be raffled off for $5 per entry, with all proceeds going to The Play Academy by Naomi Osaka, a charity founded by the tennis star with the goal of keeping young girls fit and active in sport through grants, coaching and events.null

If charity and having a signed Osaka artwork isn’t enough, fans of the player will also be excited to know that each raffle winner will win a custom set of Naomi’s Nike line curated by Naomi herself. How’s that for motivating people into bidding on an NFT?

“As lovers, creators and curators of art since we were young, Mari and I are very excited to formally enter the world of art through NFTs,” said Naomi Osaka. “I wanted to do things a little bit differently than the norm and make it more personal, which is why I asked my sister to create the pieces with me and offer something unique and special to fans and collectors from around the world, art that represents who we are and what we stand for. We hope that these one-of-a-kind pieces of art and the charitable aspect of the raffle will inspire people to dream big and to do better in the world.”

“The Colors of Naomi Osaka” auction and raffle begins today, April 16, and will end on Friday, April 23 on  Basic.Space.

~ Why chains choose breasts over thighs for fried chicken sandwiches ~

The answer is complicated by the size of today’s chickens, the export market, ease of execution and consumer preferences.

Most chefs agree that chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful than breasts. Yet American eaters have been led to believe that white meat is healthier, cleaner and more acceptable than dark meat.

When Momofuku’s David Chang first launched his signature fried chicken sandwich at Fuku, his fast-casual brand, the “sando” was founded on his love and passion for thigh-meat spicy fried chicken, said Alex Munoz, CEO of Fuku. “As we have expanded outside our home market of New York City, our guests have asked for a white meat version, which ultimately inspired us to shift to a new sandwich recipe using chicken breast in 2020,” Munoz added. “In keeping with our roots, we continue to offer the ‘OG’ thigh-meat fried chicken sandwich in NYC, home to many Fuku and Dave Chang loyalists.”

Dark meat used to have another thing going for it—it was cheaper than white meat. “Last year, boneless thighs yielded better margins for operators, but prices have come up as demand increases,” said Will Sawyer, the lead economist in animal protein at CoBank in Atlanta.

Most bone-in thighs and drumsticks are exported, but the boneless thighs remain stateside for foodservice applications and retail packages.

While boneless thighs are not going into chicken sandwiches, major chains including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panda Express spec dark meat for the menu. And several fast casuals added boneless thighs to the menu last year, with Sweetgreen, Just Salad and Modern Market featuring dark meat in bowls and plates.

But the trouble with using boneless thighs in chicken sandwiches is that they’re inconsistent, said Mike Haracz, senior corporate R&D chef and a former member of McDonald’s culinary team. “Every chicken has two breasts and two thighs, but the breasts yield four filets of equal size,” he said.

Those filets are what’s going into the growing number of fried chicken sandwiches. “Consumers have the perception that white meat offers greater value,” said Haracz, who was instrumental in developing several chicken items at McDonald’s. It also offers value to the operator. At McDonald’s, the trim from the white meat can go into chicken nuggets.

McDonald’s uses the whole bird, and “it’s very hands-on [more labor-intensive] to remove the thigh,” said Haracz. Most chains spec boneless breasts and thighs.

There may be other drawbacks to adding thighs when a chain has traditionally menued breast meat, said Haracz. “Operators have to ask themselves, ‘Do I have the line to run chicken thighs?’ and, ‘Will adding them to the menu cannibalize other chicken items?’ Thighs may take business away from chicken tenders and breast sandwiches, so you won’t necessarily be gaining new customers,” he said.

Right now, jumbo chicken breasts are the best value, said Sawyer. “Production of smaller birds slowed during the pandemic, and when you raise larger birds, most of the weight goes toward the breast. There’s about a 75 cents difference between larger breasts and smaller ones as a result.”

Chicken companies are now ramping up production of smaller birds, but they’ll still be in shorter supply for several months. In the meantime, restaurants may be paying more for both boneless breasts and thighs. But as foodservice demand goes up and more consumers eat out, it should ease chicken prices, said Sawyer.

“Grocery stores took a lot of margin last year in the meat case, but they’ll have to give some of that up this year,” said Sawyer. “I’m predicting the away-from-home market to be up 10 to 12% in 2021.”

~ 20 habits that prevent you from being a millionaire ~

1. Sleep when you shouldn’t

If you wake up until noon and work 12 or more hours per day to make up for a late start. Here’s the thing. I understand perfect, because I struggled with it for years. We are not all active people in the morning. Me, I still stay in bed on cool, rainy mornings.

Successful people are known to wake up early, usually before everyone else at home, so they can get started early on to get work started, catch up on the news, answer emails, and exercise without sacrificing time. they spend with their family.

2. Neglecting your health

“When it comes to health, bad habits do harmful damage,” writes Thomas Corley in “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life: Strategies that Transformed 177 Average People into Self-Made Millionaires .”

When you’re unhealthy, you’re tired, less productive, more stressed, and much more likely to get sick. How can you focus on building your health, if you fight those factors every day?

3. Don’t read

People with money invest the time and effort necessary to expand their knowledge, keep up with the news and trends within their industry, learn from others and take responsibility for continuing to innovate.

As Lipovsky wrote, reading brings different perspectives, allows you to gain various points of view that will in turn expand yours, giving you the push you need to dream big and motivate you to never give up.

4. Rely on a single source of income

People with a lot of money have several sources of income. Which means that for those of us who aspire to wealth, we have to invest part of our income to pay off our debts, and reserve for retirement and invest.

This doesn’t mean you have to get a second job while waiting for results (not a bad idea until you have a better option). It could be something you’re passionate about, like writing about technology. You can do it through a blog and start earning a passive income through the market.

5. Not setting a budget

Everyone needs to create a budget and stick to it, but unfortunately, there are many people who do not. Since they can’t see if they are spending more than they are accurately earning, it often leads to financial problems. If you notice that this is your case, then you need to start reducing unnecessary expenses and you should talk to an advisor to claim you.

In fact, this is another habit discovered by millionaire authors such as: Thomas Stanley and William Danko after analyzing millionaire people for their book The Millionaire Next Door

6. Don’t think ahead

“In my study, ninety-five percent of poor people did not save and most of them accumulated debt to subsidize their quality of life. Consequently, they do not have money either for the time of their retirement or for the their children’s education, or for the opportunities that come their way, “wrote Tom Corley in” Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. “

Just like Corley says. “Not saving and spending more than you earn creates long-term poverty with no hope of escaping.”

7. Not paying attention to small expenses

You may think that spending $ 40 a day on a cup of coffee has no effect on your wallet. The same goes for that $ 500 gym membership you hardly ever use. But, despite the fact that in the scheme of things these are small expenses, believe it or not, they add up quickly.

I recently randomly checked my company’s credit card payments. I found that 35 percent of people who buy coffee at least 4 times a week or go to the cafeteria every day only pay the minimum on their credit card monthly.

Again, this is why a budget is so helpful. It helps you manage these small expenses so you can adjust and focus on the important things. Remember to only keep the subscriptions that you actually use.

8. Dating the wrong people

Replace the toxic and negative people in your life with those who are optimistic, motivating and supportive. “In life, you will only be successful if you surround yourself with the right people,” says Corley.

9. Postpone

It is one thing to say that you want to become a millionaire and quite another to start doing it. If you want to get out of financial stagnation, then you need to take action as soon as possible. If you sit down with a financial professional to adjust your budget, this would be a great step to start doing rather than talking.

10. Drink and gamble

“There’s nothing like getting rich quick”; “Financial success takes time, initiative and requires relentless effort†; “Those who gamble are deluded into thinking that there is a shortcut to success,” Corley writes.

Instead, millionaires “get in the habit of pursuing their dreams and goals.”

On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption prevents you from becoming a millionaire since it damages your memory, the ability to think clearly and your health. That doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally have a glass of wine or beer. Don’t make drinking a habit.

11. Watching too much TV

“Rich people have small televisions and big libraries. Poor people have small libraries and big televisions,” Zig Ziglar once said.

Do not misunderstand. I like to watch Netflix from time to time. But, as in Corley’s discovery, the wealthy prefer to read, exercise, or educate themselves rather than waste time watching television. “Making productive use of time is a hallmark of millionaires.”https://407c894f3753596e31a6e5c1d79a348a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

“Wasting time belongs to poor people,” says Corley.

12. Not finding a mentor

I’m sure if I had found a mentor years ago I would have gotten rich since then. Why do I believe it? I could have learned from the successes and mistakes of someone who has developed in those fields, their advice could have helped me to omit so many mistakes that I have experienced and instead I could have obtained some benefit.

Instead of going out to get a mentor, open your eyes, they are all around you. You can take the advice of a college professor or your parents.

13. Stay in your comfort zone

Taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone is unsettling. I understand. But until you take that leap, you will find financial success. This is a habit that worked very well for Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffet.

“The pursuit of wealth requires risk, most people do not, so they are not rich,” says Corley.

14. Don’t ask questions

You don’t know everything. Put your ego aside for a moment. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but that’s a fact and it will keep you from being rich until you deal with it.

I learned the hard way that trying to guess the future leads to failure and poor decisions. If you are not sure about an investment or an idea for your business, do not hesitate to ask for feedback and advice.

15. Being consumed by failure

Entrepreneurs wear failure as a badge of honor. That doesn’t mean they enjoy or want to fail. Going out of business and losing almost everything is rubbish, but those bumps of life are necessary to become as strong as you can be.

Do not get confused. Failure is horrible. But you shouldn’t let that stop you. Take risks, and if you fail, learn from your mistakes and move on.

16. Not setting daily goals

One of the best habits I have adopted in recent years was writing my goals daily and first thing in the morning. This inspires and encourages me to achieve my goals.

I found that setting daily goals helps prioritize from the most important to the least important. For example, instead of looking for my $ 100 overdue bills, I focus on one or two of $ 1,500. Prioritizing means doing what really matters.

17. Thinking negatively.

“Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mindset,” Corley writes.

Here are some examples of the most common negative thoughts we have that most can overcome:

– Doubting yourself. Training, education, and a mentor can change this thinking.

– Believe that your goals cannot be achieved. Focus on reaching your daily goals and pushing yourself.

– Have bad grades. No. Grades and learning difficulty do not determine success. Ask Richard Branson who overcame dyslexia.

– The competition is too tough. You will never know until you try. And, in the worst case? Just turn around.

– Lack of concentration. Living healthy and setting daily goals can keep you focused.

18. Don’t save

“A job will never make you rich. Nor will saving all your money in a piggy bank. So how do you build wealth?” Asks Brandon Turner, vice president of growth at BiggerPockets.com.

So how is it achieved? Through tangible assets such as a profitable business, a growing stock portfolio or investing in real estate law.

Remember, your car and toys are responsibilities that take away the income from your future wealth. Focus on acquiring things that will make you money in the long run.

19. Make excuses

Excuses were one of the biggest obstacles between me and wealth. Making excuses is easy when we are trying to understand why we have so much debt and if we don’t have a six-figure income. Saying that we want to “live in the moment” is an excuse not to work and create a better future. Stop making excuses and start working.

For example, don’t worry about saving when you’re drowning in debt. Pay first, and that way you can start saving and investing. If you’re not making enough money, find another source of income like selling things online or delivering pizzas. That won’t solve all your problems, but at least it’s a start to ditching excuses.

20. Failure to follow the 70/30 Rule.

Jim Rohn, one of the county’s leading business authority figures, has a simple formula for building your wealth.

“After paying your taxes, learn to live with 70 percent of your income for your necessities and luxuries”, “it is important to see how you allocate the remaining 30 percent after that.” Mentions Rohn.

Rohn suggests giving one third to charity, one third to equity investments and the last third to savings. You won’t notice anything at first, but “let five years go by and the differences will be noticeable. 10 years later, they will be completely solid.”

~ Vegan Fried Chicken Entrepreneur Rejected $1 Million Shark Tank Offer; Acquired Multi-Million Dollar Facility to Expand Company Vision ~

California entrepreneur Deborah Torres pitched her vegan fried chicken on season 11 of ABC’s hit TV show “Shark Tank.”

Torres offered the Sharks a $500,000 investment opportunity in exchange for a 10% stake in the company. Instead, billion-dollar investor Mark Cuban decided to partner with guest shark Rohan Oza and offer $1 million for 100% of the company. Torres would receive a 10% royalty.

Torres rejected the offer. Recently, her company acquired a multi-million dollar former food production warehouse in a San Diego Opportunity Zone to expand their vision.

Vegan Fried Chicken Entrepreneur Turned Down Shark Tank Offer

“We are so blessed and excited to acquire our own warehouse facility while still maintaining 100% ownership of the company. I have God, my family, our team, and our awesome fans and customers alike to really thank for the incredible support. Dreams really do come true when you don’t give up or let someone steal your imagination. This is only the beginning,” said Torres told Times of San Diego

When Torres introduced her fried vegan chicken to the Sharks, they immediately fell in love with it. “This batter is extremely tasty,” shark Lori Greiner said. “It’s got some zip to it.”

“You fooled me,” Barbara Corcoran said

The Sharks bought into the idea of fried vegan chicken but challenged the financials that Torres delivered.

“On [Shark Tank] there were many edits of conversations to make it appear that I wasn’t intelligent enough for obvious dramatic effects of the ‘shocking’ ending,” Torres told VegNews. 

She felt that her appearance on Shark Tank did not accurately portray her business acumen. Torres graduated from high school at 15 and received her first degree at 17.

“I think God works in mysterious ways because what was meant to harm me propelled me to where I am today—the proud and sole owner of the world’s largest vegan fried chicken manufacturing company and 100-percent owner of a multi-million dollar manufacturing facility.”

Torres felt that the Shark Tank offer was not a reflection of the true value of her company. In 2019, she declined the offer and now she projects exponential growth for the company going forward.

Giving Birth to a Plant-Based Brand

Deborah Torres is the founder of Atlas Monroe. The plant-based company specializes in fried vegan foods. According to VegNews, Atlas Monroe is on track to become the largest manufacturer of deep-fried vegan chicken in the world.

What motivated the creation of vegan fried chicken? Her father’s type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Torres decided to experiment with a vegan diet. One of her main priorities was to develop delicious foods that were healthy.

“My whole family and I went on a raw, vegan and organic diet for 90 days. We grew really ‘hangry’ at each other from just eating salads and fruit salads,” Deborah told CNBC. “After the 90 days, [my father] was completely healed. We vowed to stay organic, plant-based and natural. We continued to experiment, and Atlas Monroe was born.”

~ Bethenny Frankel’s Success Starts With Time Management ~

Edits: Keith James Twitter at Mrkeith100

“In my glamorous life of being a mogul today,” Bethenny Frankel says, “I cleaned up dog poop and steamed lotion off the carpet.”

We are talking at 6 p.m. on a Thursday. It’s been quite a day. The dog poop was the dog’s fault. The lotion was Frankel’s. She spilled it shortly after rushing to drop off her daughter at a playdate — a drop-off that was so hurried that her daughter’s hair was still wet from a shower. Frankel then had to take over a hotel reservation that someone was supposed to make for her, but they bungled it. Her wardrobe for a Home Shopping Network appearance was a mess, so she fixed that herself. After our talk, she’s filming an online video about BSTRONG, her initiative that raises money for disaster relief work. “I will have to proofread the entire post,” she says, “because it will be grammatically incorrect if I don’t.”

She isn’t complaining. Instead, she’s illustrating a problem she has yet to solve. Frankel has famously transformed her once-fractured life — a difficult childhood among degenerates and gamblers, being flat broke in her late 30s, countless career changes, and then a star turn on The Real Housewives of  New York City that she used to frame herself as a brand builder, including creating the juggernaut lifestyle brand Skinnygirl. But like most entrepreneurs, she has still not figured out how to exit the weeds.

“I’ve always wanted someone to be me — to be able to think like me and make decisions like me,” she says. “And I don’t even know if that’s possible.”

There are two reasons we’re talking about this. The first is promotional. Frankel, as is her way, has turned her staffing problem into a television opportunity. In her new HBO Max show, The Big Shot with Bethenny, she runs contestants through a series of challenges, Apprentice-style, in order to hire the winner as her VP of operations.

But the second reason is more practical. Entrepreneurs may dream about cloning themselves — finding someone who shares their thoughts and can double their output — but that’s like finding a unicorn. The reality is messier. It’s life as a series of scrambles, juggling massive decisions and very minor ones, no matter your level of success. Maybe this is just always how it is. Maybe there’s no real solution here. So I ask her: “Do you feel like you’re not doing it right?”

She pauses for a second. Frankel rarely pauses. Then she says, “What I’m doing right is that I can make major business decisions in an instant — execute, delegate, know what to do about the big picture. I was on the phone about a multiyear, very lucrative podcast deal that in many ways is unprecedented. I can knock out that negotiation. It’s been held up for months in red tape, and I got on the phone with the president of this company and just knocked it out.” (Her podcast is called Just B with Bethenny Frankel; after we spoke, she announced a big deal with iHeartMedia.)

This answer makes me think about Parkinson’s Law, one of the greatest and pithiest theories about work ever devised. It goes like this: Work expands to fill the time allowed. If you have a lot of time to finish a task, that task will take a lot of time. If you have a little time, you’ll plow through it. And is this what I’m hearing from Frankel? When I asked if she’s in the weeds too much, her response was to tell me about how quickly she negotiated a gigantic contract. Maybe, I tell her, being in the weeds actually taught her how to move extremely quickly.

“I do think it’s an asset,” she replies.

Does chaos actually create order? Are problems actually our solution?

As evidence of this, Frankel starts talking about the way she’s figured out how to cope with a busy life: It’s in blocks and buckets.

Edits:Keith James Twitter at mrkeith100

When I talked to Frankel, she was done up — hair, makeup, an expensive-looking outfit with a giant bow on the front. This was not for my benefit; not directly, anyway. “I’m a stacker,” she says, by way of explanation. “I feel that people should stack.”

Frankel spends most days in her pajamas. She leaves her home only if she must — not just because of COVID-19 , but because she’s a homebody who conducts most business remotely. But sometimes, pajamas aren’t possible. If she’s shooting a video, or going on TV, or negotiating a big deal, or being featured on a magazine cover, or whatever — she insists on doing it all back-to-back. “I will maximize being in hair and makeup because I don’t want to do hair and makeup again until I’m doing five things on that hair-and-makeup day,” she says.

This is what she means by stacking. When you group similar activities together, you save all that ancillary time. Stack calls, stack podcast recordings, stack anything that is stackable.

Then, she says, you need to make sure you’re stacking only where your time really counts — because what’s the point of saving time on something that’s ultimately wasting time? It’s the paradox of opportunity: There are endless possible options, but your time itself is limited. To solve for this, Frankel sends opportunities through a very particular filter.

“I call it the bucket theory,” she says. “You have six buckets full where your time has a greater ROI, versus 12 buckets that are half full.”

Every entrepreneur faces some version of this. There are the ideas that could turn into new businesses, or new services to build in an existing business, or tempting new speaking requests, or meetings to take, or endless new social media platforms to engage on. It isn’t possible to do them all — so which do you invest in? The answer, Frankel says, begins with thinking of them like buckets. You can have only a few. Pick the ones that have the greatest payoff, fill them up to the top with your time, and discard the rest.

Edits: Keith James Twitter at mrkeith100

For all her filtering and stacking and bucketing of time, Frankel insists she isn’t much of a planner. “I never have any big goals. I just take one step,” she says. In fact, Frankel seems philosophically opposed to the idea. At one point, I prompt her to explain how she identifies new opportunities, and she pushes back: “You’re making it more planned than it was.” Then she ticks off all the things she didn’t plan:

“I never said, ‘I want a podcast.’ I didn’t even know what a podcast was.”

“I never said I wanted to be an author. I just wrote a book.”

“I never said I wanted to be on the cover of Forbes. Who the hell would dream that big?”

“I see on television what’s going on with Hurricane Harvey three years ago. I want to get involved. Cut to now. It’s an $80-million-plus disasters

Let’s be real: These can be grating things to hear. Every item here is someone else’s complete dream; she talks about them as pleasant surprises. Why? I press her on it.

She says her lack of planning goes back to her pre-fame days — when she was in her 30s living in a tiny studio apartment, couldn’t afford a taxi downtown, and didn’t know what big dreaming looked like. “I wanted to be something,” she says. “And I wanted to be somebody. And I wanted to accomplish something. And I wanted to make a mark on this world. And I wanted to be able to afford to go to dinner. And to pay my rent. And to go on a vacation. And to have a car without finagling a subleasing of some other person’s car lease. I just never had any specific goals.”

Instead, she traded goals for hustle. She’d spot an opportunity and just drill into it — until it either proved worthless or provided everything. Most were duds. Some were springboards. If you don’t know where you’re heading, the theory goes, what’s the point in limiting the options?

This, it occurs to me, isn’t really an issue of goals or accomplishments at all. It is, like everything else we spoke about, really an issue of time. If you have a wide-open idea of what success looks like, then you might as well try everything, and try it fast. And to accomplish that, you must shed a fear of failure — something Frankel seems to have done early, by necessity. (“Many people say, ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ Then it’s not going to happen!” she says.)

Now she sees speed as a gift — because speed creates more time. Meanwhile…goals? Goals are a binary experience: You achieve them, or you don’t. And who has time for that?

“I’m never late. Let’s just put it that way,” Frankel says. (I can confirm, at least for our call; she appeared the minute she promised to.) “I value other people’s time. Everyone’s time is valuable to me. If I make an appointment, it doesn’t matter if it’s to get my manicure, if it’s to take my dog to get groomed, if I’m meeting a friend for lunch — time is important. Managing your time is the whole thing. Everything we’ve talked about doesn’t matter if we’re not managing our time. That’s what organization means. That’s what delegation means. It’s all about time efficiency, which brings me back to the most valuable asset in the world: time. More important than money.”

The irony, of course, is that her new HBO Max show is all about hiring someone to save her time. But maybe, just maybe, we all benefit a little when our time is squeezed. 

~ YouTube star Jake Paul scores first-round KO of Ben Askren in third pro fight ~

Edits: Keith James Twitter at mrkeith100

It took Jake Paul less than two minutes to win his third professional fight.

The YouTube star-turned-boxer sent Ben Askren to the canvas with a straight right hand midway through the first round of their cruiserweight fight Saturday. Even though Askren got up, referee Brian Stutts called the fight at 1:59 inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Paul (3-0, 3 KOs) then collapsed to the canvas in tears before celebrating and doing pushups in the ring.

The 24-year-old Paul took care of Askren quickly. Paul was patient for the first minute while Askren chased him around the ring.

Then, as Paul began to get comfortable, he made quick work of the 36-year-old Askren. Paul set up the straight right with a jab, and the solid contact sent Askren down. After the fight, Paul climbed up into the broadcast booth to celebrate with Snoop Dogg.

“It’s been four months. I’ve been in training camp every day,” Paul said on Triller after the fight. “I deserved that s—. This is the craziest moment of my life.

“I told y’all I was going to do it in the first round. I told y’all I’m a real fighter. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to prove myself this is for real.”

Paul landed 9 of 26 punches in the fight, while Askren landed 3 of 14 punches. It was the last two of Paul’s punches that did the most damage. Paul told Snoop Dogg after the fight he didn’t even get a chance to really get warmed up.

This came months after Paul knocked out former basketball player Nate Robinson in the first round with a viral knockout during Triller’s first fight on the undercard of the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. main event in November.

Paul headlined Triller’s second event and dispatched of Askren — making his boxing debut — almost as quickly.

Paul’s entrance, during which he walked into the ring with some sort of fake robot accompanying him, might have lasted longer than the fight itself. Paul’s win capped a night that was a complete spectacle.

It featured a literal slap fight along with performances by The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Ice Cube, Mount Westmore and Justin Bieber. Roving reporter/comedian Pete Davidson stole the show, making fun of everyone and everything.

After the fight, Paul said he dedicated it to his security guard, who died 10 days ago. It was part of a news-heavy week for Paul, who also was accused by TikTok star Justine Paradise of forcing her to perform a sex act without consent in 2019. Paul’s attorney told ESPN earlier this week that Paul “categorically denies the allegation.”

Boxing was secondary throughout the majority of the night as musician after musician performed, with just one fight over the first two hours of the pay-per-view — a bout lasting two rounds, as Reykon refused to come out of the corner for the third round against Joe Fournier.

Otherwise, it was music and skits — the show opened with a skit in which Snoop Dogg and Jaleel White, playing his iconic role as Steve Urkel from “Family Matters,” joking about marijuana — with very little actual fighting going on in the fight club.

Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube recognized rapper DMX and boxing great Marvin Hagler, who both died earlier this year, during the show, including with a video honoring the late rapper.

Even the fight featuring the most well-known prospect, Regis Prograis, ended in controversy after his opponent, Ivan Redkach, was taken out of the ring on a stretcher following a punch from Prograis in the sixth round.

The fight, which had been scheduled for 10 rounds, went to the scorecards instead, with Prograis earning a 60-54, 60-54, 59-54 majority decision win.

Edits: Keith James Twitter at mrkeith100

~ WHY AREN’T SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGERS MORE RESPECTED? ~

Social media involves growth strategy, analytics and crisis comms. Yet somehow, people can’t see past the memes.

back to the beginning of her social media career, she remembers the content she created, the social accounts she managed and the campaigns she ran. She also remembers an unwanted nickname one colleague gave her: “Facebook girl.”

“I distinctly remember [that] coworker coming up to me and saying, ‘I told my wife that your job is to sit on Facebook all day,’” Hudetz, who now runs a digital marketing agency called Oyster Creative, told Built In.

“Throughout my career, I battled with work environments that did not understand the scope of work involved in social media management,” she added. “I think it was hard for people to grasp what a social media marketing manager does.”

“I think it was hard for people to grasp what a social media marketing manager does.”

Hudetz’s story is a familiar one. Many marketers feel as though their early career work in social media wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been. That it was misunderstood, if not minimized.

“Back in those days, it was ‘the intern’s job,’” said Ish Verduzco, director of growth and marketing at Crave It, who, for a couple of years, starting in 2015, ran LinkedIn’s student outreach social channels. “Few people at the company knew the amount of work that it took.”

When platforms were still in their infancy, there was less data to track, and fewer tools to use and KPIs to measure. So for a time, it made sense to associate the role with entry-level professionals. But the responsibilities were never as easy as people imagined. It was never a passive job. It never was about “sitting on Facebook all day.”

“It was still a lot of work,” Verduzco said.

As social platforms grew more popular and sophisticated, social media professionals got more responsibilities. Soon the job required a Swiss Army-knife-like set of skills.

But the intern trope stuck around.

THE ORIGINS OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN STEREOTYPE

Whenever a corporate Twitter account posts an insensitively worded or ill-conceived tweet that sparks a backlash, it’s a good bet that someone in the replies makes a joke about the company’s social media intern getting in trouble.

Of course, it’s a near-certainty that the person running the social media account representing a billion-dollar company is not an intern. And while it may be the case that most people cracking the joke during a brand Twitter snafu know that, the knee-jerk reaction to apply the label pejoratively in these instances highlights how the work of social media professionals has always been diminished.

Anna Rose Iovine, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, pins the “intern”misconception on the fact that, generally, tweets are crafted to maximize engagement, and are therefore written in a relatable, humanized tone. A tone many misconstrue as “unprofessional.”

“Readers may hold a certain schema for what it means to be professional; when they see an account tweet ‘lmao,’ it breaks that schema,” Iovine wrote. “A full-time, salaried employee can’t do that, they think. Only an intern can do that.”

Others, such as Alana Hope Levinson, point to sexist undercurrents to the social media intern stereotype. At the time of her writing, women comprised the majority of social media leadership roles (55 percent), while accounting for less than a quarter of leadership roles in media and journalism at large.

In her story for matter, Levinson spoke to one woman who noted “a vibe of ‘let’s give this easy job to a girl, she can handle it’ around the office, that social media is seen as easier, ‘fluffy.’”

Ella Dawson, an author and digital strategist, offers this take: “The way social media is disrespected as a field is the result of a lot of forces. It’s the disregard of emotional labor as real work. It’s ageism that dismisses social media as something ‘kids’ just know how to do. It’s the result of workers rights being rolled back.”

Whatever its true origin, it’s difficult to deny that social media marketing has had a stigma attached to it from day one.

VIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA ARE EVOLVING

In the past couple of years, however, the work that social media professionals are doing has gained much more respect among their marketing colleagues, and in the tech industry more broadly. That’s because business leaders finally realized that social is extremely important to their companies. They can’t afford to neglect it.

“Social media is no longer just another marketing channel or part of a bigger brand campaign. It is the connection point between a brand and its audiences,” said Jamie Gilpin, chief marketing officer at Sprout Social, in an interview with Forbes.

Greg Fass, vice president of marketing at Liquid Death Mountain Water, told Built In that, when talking to industry peers, “everyone is on the same page about how social is extremely important.”

“Everyone is on the same page about how social is extremely important.”

Fass began his career as an intern at a music management and booking agency, where he was tasked with creating and managing artists’ social accounts, writing copy, promoting shows across several social channels and reaching out to bloggers. At the time, people didn’t quite grasp how social media impacted business, so his colleagues “just tossed it my way,” Fass said.

The perception around social media has changed a lot since then.

“The biggest investments in advertising and marketing have some sort of digital social component,” Fass said. “So that’s a pretty good gauge in my mind that social is taken very seriously these days.”

Despite the growing importance of social media for every company’s marketing strategy, social media leaders are still expected to do more with less. Many toggle between playing the role of copywriter, graphic designer, community manager, analytics guru and growth strategist.

“A lot of social media managers I know do all of those,” Verduzco said.

Matthew Kobach, the director of content marketing at Fast, has been beating this drum for a while now. Two years ago,he tweeted a list of all the things social media professionals understand about the companies for which they work: marketing, communications (especially during a crisis), branding, industry trends, customer service, creative, how to create and nurture brand advocates. Kobach ended the tweet calling today’s social media professionals “the future CMO/CCOs.”

The growing importance of social media is also reflected in the prevalence of senior job titles within the specialization. Where five years ago, the role may have topped out at “social media manager,” look on job boards today and you’ll spot several roles with the words “director” or “VP” right next to “social media.”

BUT MORE WORK IS NEEDED

Despite social media professionals getting more recognition lately, there’s still work to be done to give them the support they need.

Too often, according to past and current social media professionals I talked to, social teams still get the short shrift from their organizations — and individuals in social roles are routinely saddled with enough responsibilities to keep two or three people busy.

And since the pandemic all but eliminated field marketing and in-person events, businesses have started applying extra pressure on their social teams to perform, often without the benefit of having the workload distributed across several team members.

As a result, many social media professionals are “emotionally exhausted and burnt out,” Verduzco said. “If you’re a basketball player or football player and you have game day every single day for a year straight, you get tired. You don’t have rest or downtime. And that’s pretty much how it’s been since the lockdown.”

Indeed, in most cases, the job of social media manager comes with heavy burdens and little support — and it doesn’t pay particularly well.

Ever look at the replies to a brand’s Twitter account when it does something unpopular? A person has to read and respond to those.

“They’re the mouthpiece of the organization, working around the clock, and often find themselves on the frontlines when something goes wrong,” Kimeko McCoy reported for Digiday.

ARE SMMS THE NEXT CMOS?

Marketers from social media backgrounds say that people in the job are uniquely equipped to take on broader, more strategic roles within organizations.

Verduzco, the growth marketer, says it’s the social media professional’s ability to think fast and stay cool under pressure, while encountering a deluge of notifications and balancing a high volume of creative assets, that will most help them get ready for an eventual, pressure-filled role in the C-suite.

“Part of the reason why so many social media marketers are seen as potential CMOs down the line is because we’re being pushed to perform like no other role within the marketing organization on a daily basis,” Verduzco said.

“We’re being pushed to perform like no other role within the marketing organization on a daily basis.”

And although social media seems specialized, the role requires wearing lots of hats, which mirrors the multifaceted nature of senior roles extending beyond social, according to Fass, the marketing VP at Liquid Death.

“Crafting a brand voice, understanding a brand narrative and storytelling, learning how to engage with your customer base, content creation, influencers partnerships, and also customer service,” Fass said, rattling off all the things a modern social media manager might have in their toolbox, before adding, “If you can master all those things in a social sphere … you can take that to the next level.”

Caroline Hart, director of brand and product marketing at tech startup Brainbase, agrees. She started her career as a social media strategist at a boutique New York advertising agency, where she had to “learn how to tailor your messages to fit certain channels, how to tailor them to fit certain personas and segments and audiences,” she said. “It’s almost like a little microcosm of what you do at the higher level running large brand campaigns.”

~ 5 Tips for Navigating the Entrepreneur/Investor Relationship ~

In a tug of war of interests, it’s important that both sides maintain perspective. Read on for five insights into how an entrepreneur should play the game.

Marshall B. Rosenburg, founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication, once said: “At the root of every tantrum and power struggle are unmet needs.” This quote sums up the story of the start-up founder-investor relationship.

When an entrepreneur and an investor first team up, it is almost akin to the initial phases of falling in love. Each side sees the common interests and vision of success, and nothing can come between the partnership except failure. Unfortunately, just as perfect love is an illusion, the path to an ideal partnership is arduous. Many outsiders do not know that this relationship dynamic can either make or break an organization depending on what is at stake. Power, money and success form an intoxicant that brings people together and also causes them to drift apart. Both sides’ perspectives change with the evolving life cycle of a start-up. In part one of this article, I will focus on how founders can navigate the power game, and in part two, I will discuss the investor’s POV.

Amazingly, it is “unmet needs” that inspire an entrepreneur to partake in an unknown journey, driven by hunger, vision and passion. You want to sprint and soar but quickly run out of fuel. And so begins the saga of investor wooing. A founder first approaches an investor with trepidation. You covet the finances to spur growth but risk losing out on equity and ownership control. Investors fund a start-up to multiply their return on investment (ROI). But they worry about the dilution of their equity, too, which impacts their ROI. A typical tech start-up goes through several rounds of fundraising. The longer your timelines, the thinner the investors’ patience. Moreover, multiple rounds of funding often mean diverging interests on the board. How deftly an entrepreneur handles the political landscape is as significant to a start-up’s success as the actual business performance.

“You are fired!” As a founder, these are the last words you expect to hear in your own company. However, this is a real scenario that often plays out in start-ups. As the flaws begin to accumulate, the magic between the founder and the investors starts wearing off. Each side then looks at the situation through their lenses. For a founder who created the start-up, this suggestion of leadership change stabs you to the core. I didn’t peek into the soul of 30-year-old Steve Jobs when he got fired from Apple, but I am sure that he would agree with me that this pain stings. With the romantic veil lifted, you are faced with a difficult choice like Hamlet: “To be or not to be?” As an entrepreneur and a current angel investor, I empathize with both sides. Founders need to realize that when investors seek a management or leadership change, they are choosing the optimal way to get their money back, preferably in multiples. In most cases, it is not personal, it is business as usual.

Let’s dive into some tips and insights on how we can survive and rise out of such a challenging situation.

The art of anticipation

The wise person anticipates and preempts future moves; the fool reacts to situations as they unfold. Founders should be cognizant that you lose your absolute control of strategic decisions once you bring outside capital. To avoid turning into driftwood swayed by the higher winds, take control of the strings you do hold. Are you an innovator? Then, invest in your field knowledge so you are perceived as the container of elite information. A strategic genius in your field? Then plan to stay on top of the market competition, manage the timelines. Remember the power of allies. It is not enough that you alone evolve with the company’s life stage while your teammates are left behind. Your early employees are likely to be your closest allies; you picked them for a reason, right? Protect, train and prepare your early employees to grow with the company and strive to put them in power positions. If budget permits, hire experienced industry veterans to lend you their experience. You will need top managers on your side in case of a power struggle with your investors later down the road.

The beauty of balancing

Have you ever marveled at the dexterity of a juggler as he tosses several objects in the air, performing the act in perfect harmony? Well, as an entrepreneur, you need to master the skill of balancing. There are multiple forces you need to harness, making sure they are in cadence. First, your product or service needs to cater to the changing market forces, staying ahead of the curve. The idea that you started with may no longer be relevant, so imbibe the art of pivoting. Next, you will have a growing team to contend with, so be aware of impending structural changes. Finally, it is essential to stay on top of board politics by working on your people skills. A single source of capital means power bias. Diversity in the funding sources goes in your favor most of the time. Still, by the time you have to juggle the disparate investor groups, you will have mastered the art of balancing and pocketed some allies on the board, I hope. Whenever a difficult investor situation confronts you, rather than quitting, always remember, they are here because you invited them in the time of your need. This acknowledgment will lead to a deeper introspection of the case on hand.

The rewards of due diligence

Seeking and gaining investors without thorough due diligence is doomed to lead to a dysfunctional relationship in the future. Just like your start-up’s success depends on your early team picks, your early investor team is crucial to your organization’s strategic path forward. Make sure that you are approaching experienced and credible investment sources; this is vital when you want to bring in more significant funding sources such as VCs and private equity down the road. Rushing into contracts with random investors early on means you lock yourself into no-escape deals and you lose bargaining power later. As you start building your investor Rolodex, be aware of group dynamics. Not all investors think alike or have the same values. Sometimes all it takes to bring down a start-up is an unresolved conflict between two warring groups of investors.

The power of honesty

There is no greater power on earth than the virtue of honesty.Deception can take you some distance, but a shaky foundation has never supported a high rise. Be upfront when you are signing a contract with your investors. You must have heard of “promise less, deliver more.” Let them know of the risks inherent in your company timeline and the start-up’s issues and values that are nonnegotiable. Honest entrepreneurs know that business is frequently not easy when you refuse to compromise the truth. Things go south, patience runs thin, and pressure starts building to deliver results. However, investors respect founders who are accountable for their word, so learn to control expectations and confrontations with truth and facts as your power weapons.

The wisdom in walking away

One of the hardest things you can do in life is to let go of your love. A start-up to a founder is the seed you planted and nurtured as it grew into a plant. You did such an excellent job so far that it might come as a shock that you need to trust the higher powers to help ensure your beloved tree flourishes and bears fruits. And that might mean handing over the reins to somebody else who is more adept at that task than you. Rather than acting like a child whose favorite toy was snatched away, founders should look at the bigger picture. Sometimes walking away gracefully is the greatest thing you can do to let your start-up thrive with your dignity and relationships intact. Remember, in the start-up’s success lies your victory.

Many critical factors need to converge to make a start-up successful, the founder-investor relationship being one of them. It often starts on a high note only to get complicated as time passes. Entrepreneurs should know how to design and plan the power game to level the playing field. The tips and insights mentioned above will hopefully lend you an arsenal against mounting investor pressures.

~ Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet sells for $2.9m ~

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first ever tweet has been sold for the equivalent of $2.9m (£2.1m) to a Malaysia-based businessman.

The tweet, which said “just setting up my twttr,” was first published on March 21, 2006 and was auctioned off by Mr Dorsey for charity.

The Malaysia-based buyer Sina Estavi compared the purchase to buying a Mona Lisa painting.

The tweet was bought using the ether cryptocurrency, a rival to bitcoin.

It was sold as a nonfungible token (NFT) on Monday to Mr Estavi, the chief executive of technology firm Bridge Oracle.

An NFT is a unique digital certificate that states who owns a photo, video or other form of online media. Each NFT is unique and acts as a collector’s item that can’t be duplicated, making them rare by design.

NFTs have become hugely popular this year, with expensive digital artwork also being sold this way.

Mr Dorsey said he would convert the proceeds to bitcoin and then donate them to the Give Directly’s Africa Response fund.

“This is not just a tweet!” Mr Estavi posted on Twitter. “I think years later people will realize the true value of this tweet, like the Mona Lisa painting.”

Mr Dorsey’s brief tweet was sold via an auction on an online platform called Valuables, which is owned by the US-based company Cent.

Under the platform’s rules, Mr Dorsey receives 95% of the proceeds of the primary sale, while Cent receives 5%.

But the post will remain publicly available on Twitter even after it has been auctioned off. Within minutes of the auction bids reached more than $88,000.

As the buyer, Mr Estavi will receive a certificate, digitally signed and verified by Mr Dorsey, as well as the metadata of the original tweet. The data will include information such as the time the tweet was posted and its text contents.

Social media experts predict the sale of tweets and other online posts will become more popular.

“We live in an age where celebrities, musicians and influencers have more than fans, they have stans, and they will want to own a piece of their favourite stars,” said Cathy Hackl, founder of technology consultancy Futures Intelligence Group.

“Just like people buy physical memorabilia, they will buy their tweets, posts, and snaps because they want to feel close to that star”.

Earlier this month, the first digital-only art auction was held by Christie’s auction house and netted $69m for the artist Beeple.

Beeple – real name Mike Winkelmann – creates a new piece of digital art every day, and was selling the first 5,000 days (13 years) of his work.

“This is a watershed moment and proof of concept for digital art, which has been dogged by questions of commercial value, authenticity, ownership and scarcity,” said Rob Anders, boss of Israel-based digital art platform Niio.

Mr Estavi and Bridge Oracle didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment when contacted by the BBC.

~ How to Build a Business Without Investors ~

Follow entrepreneur Lauren Grech’s advice to build your business without investors.

  • Starting a company without the weight of investors can yield many benefits that outweigh the cons, like controlling your own destiny, not having to compromise with shareholders and quickly changing business direction when needed.
  • If you do not have investors, you must be prepared to spend more of one thing in particular: time.
  • Build a successful startup by investing your free time, learning how to take on every job responsibility and making the necessary sacrifices for growth.
  • Always keep an eye on your finances, and only hire employees when necessary.

Building a business from the ground up is often very difficult. Building a business without the initial cash flow from investors can be even harder. However, choosing to start a company without the weight of investors can yield many benefits that outweigh the cons. 

Lauren Grech, the CEO and co-founder of LLG Events,an international event management firm specializing in luxury destination weddings, discovered those benefits when she partnered up with her husband, Paul, to build what would later become a successful business without investors. 

Grech was working as a research and development scientist at the medical examiner’s office in New York City when the idea to start her own luxury event business piqued her interest. Shortly after planning her own wedding, Grech learned her passion for event planning and decided to pursue it professionally. She knew it would take hard work and dedication, but with her husband by her side, she believed they could turn their dream into a reality without investor funding.

“I decided it would be best to undertake LLG Events using my own time instead of other people’s money,” Grech told Business News Daily. “For me, the benefit was the ability to drive the business in whatever direction required to get us to where we are today.”

Benefits of starting a business without investors

Many decisions go into starting a business, including whether or not to have financial investors. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of taking outside money, and to take note of what options are realistic for your business. Grech said that starting something on your own and investing your own time and capital is demanding, but it can be highly rewarding.

She said there are a number of benefits to starting a business without investors:

  1. You have complete control of your own destiny. It allows you to understand your capabilities and shortcomings, which you can see the direct result of through success or failure. The rewards are yours, but so are the losses.
  2. You can push yourself and live up to your potential. One of the most intimidating things about starting a new business is the risk that it is going to fail. However, if you are solely responsible for your business, you may be more inclined to work harder to achieve your dreams.
  3. You don’t have to compromise with shareholders or a board of directors. When investors’ motivations are different from your own, it can cause difficulties and tension with decision-making. Investors can also add more pressure financially, mentally and emotionally.
  4. You have the freedom to quickly change direction as needed. Going without investors gives you the freedom to pivot or shift the direction of your business without convincing others that it is a good idea. This enables you to quickly adapt to the constantly changing market.

“It is important to be as agile as possible, especially in the early days as you continue to search for product-market fit,” Grech said.

How to start a business without investors

Starting a business with investors and without are very similar paths. However, if you do not have outside financial backing, you must be prepared to spend more of one thing in particular: time. 

“When starting a company without investors, you must put in the investment of time,” said Grech. “There is a trade-off between the financial commitment investors can provide with the time it takes to start your business.”

1. Invest your free time into your side hustle.

Since starting a business without investors can leave you strapped for financing, it may be wise to keep your day job while you develop your new business. Grech and her husband did this by volunteering at events on the weekends to gain industry knowledge, insight and network connections. Grech went to work early so she could leave early to meet with vendors and clients, as well as to work on her website, marketing and planning materials.

“I worked for free, with any free time that I had,” said Grech. “The more time I was able to focus on LLG, the more time I was able to dedicate to the business.”

2. Learn how to take on every job title and responsibility.

Growing a business without investors comes with additional responsibility and pressure, since you are likely your only employee. In the beginning, you may not have the capital to hire employees, causing you to take on every job title and responsibility by yourself.

“You learn to become your own lawyer, accountant, secretary, etc., and you run every department until you acquire enough money from your sales to hire talented and specialized personnel,” Grech said.

3. Make the necessary sacrifices to grow your business.

Your business, like a baby, is going to demand a lot of time and attention. You must be willing to make sacrifices to free up your time. Grech said the more time you can free up, the more you can work on your startup and expedite the next phase of your business. However, keep in mind that spending time on your venture will take time away from other activities or people. It’s a give-and-take that you must figure out how to balance.

“In the early part of my career, I had to make a lot of sacrifices,” said Grech. “Every penny went into the company, and Paul and I did not travel unless it was for business. We skipped family gatherings, birthdays and nights out with friends, all to work and focus on the company’s growth.”

4. Hire the right individuals (when you can afford it).

When you are finally in a position to scale your business, you should invest in the right individuals. The people you hire should be specialists who believe in your vision. Grech said that finding the right employee is like finding the right investor.

“You need to find those who share in your vision and your growth, who believe in what you’re doing and the message you are spreading,” Grech said. “For me, company culture was everything, and if we were going to expand, it needed to be with the right people.”

Grech advises bringing on team members slowly, only hiring when necessary. She said it is important to focus on building a business savings.

5. Don’t forget about finances.

Through the entire startup process, keep your revenue and finances in mind. Since you won’t have investors to support you in times of need, ensure your company is always in the green. Grech said that she worried about financial responsibilities and commitments every step of the way.

“Paul and I were sure to never overextend ourselves financially,” she said. “Instead, we’d rather take on the work and increase our capacity in order to achieve what was necessary for the business to grow.”

Tips for managing expectations

One of the hardest lessons Grech had to learn was to have patience. As an up-and-coming entrepreneur, you may want immediate success, but this is not a realistic expectation. Patience can allow you to see the difference between short- and long-term gains, as well as to manage your expectations. 

Another important quality to attain is self-control. Grech said a high level of self-control allows you to make fewer impulsive and emotionally driven decisions. It can empower you to make decisions without fear, keeping you calm in situations of high stress, because you have the knowledge and faith that everything will work itself out in due time.

“My advice to future entrepreneurs is to just stay the course,” said Grech. “Investors help, but ultimately you are in debt to them. You can do this on your own if you believe in yourself and invest the most precious thing: time.”

~ Don’t Let an Investor Run Your Startup Business ~

A failed business venture taught me to play to my strengths

Those who can, start businesses, and those who can’t, invest. Entrepreneurs and investors are not one and the same. It took losing €12,000 in a failed business venture to understand the critical difference. It’s money I couldn’t afford to lose — it hurt having to make loan repayments for a business that had already failed.

Play to your strengths

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers

Investors allocate capital

Similarities

Honest assessment

Not a zero-sum game

~ Paid Media Marketing in 2021: 8 Changes Marketers Should Make ~

A new year can mean a new paid media strategy. Learn eight changes marketing professionals must implement into their 2021 digital marketing plan. Paid media has one job: to lift your brand. And as digital marketing evolves, so too will your strategy. So how should you change your paid media strategy in 2021? Here are eight […]

~ Paid Media Marketing in 2021: 8 Changes Marketers Should Make ~

~ Jeff Bezos Just Poured $10 Billion Into This ~

Not many people know this story…

But in 1998, Bezos invested $250,000 of his own money in Google, when the company was just getting started out of a garage in California.

When Google went public in 2004, that $250,000 investment translated into 3.3 million shares of Google stock.

Nobody knows if Bezos has sold any shares. If he hasn’t, today they’re worth more than $5.6 billion.

I’m telling you this story because Jeff Bezos is betting big on a new trend.

This time he’s planning to invest $10 billion of his own money in this exciting new trend.

That’s 40,000 times more money than what he invested in Google.

That’s how big he thinks this could be.

~ Fubu: The Brand of LL Cool J and Nas Is Courting Generation Z ~

Fubu’s logo-heavy clothes were inescapable in the ’90s, driving a $350 million-a-year business. Nearly 30 years later, the brand is relaunching through licensing deals and collaborations aimed at a younger generation.

THE FOUR FOUNDERS of Fubu—childhood friends Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin and Carlton Brown—never imagined the fashion brand would make it this far. As Mr. Perrin recalls, when the quartet got together in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens in New York to start the label in 1992, “our mindset was we had to make as much money as we can because we don’t know how long this thing is going to last.”

Yet last it has. Fubu (an acronym for “For Us, By Us”) is nearing its 30th year in business, remarkable longevity…

~ Tesla boss Elon Musk is no longer world’s richest person as share prices in car company drop ~

Tesla boss Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after shares in the electric car company fell by 8.6% this week, leaving him $15.2bn (£10.7bn) worse off.

The 49-year-old business magnate has now fallen to second place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of $183.4bn (£129bn) – a significant drop from a peak of $210bn (£148bn) in January.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot, despite his own fortune dipping by $3.7bn (£2.6bn) to $186.3bn (£131bn) on Monday.

The two have been head-to-head since the beginning of the year, with Musk briefly overtaking Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised $850m (£599m) earlier this month, with the company being valued at $74bn (£52bn).

Pic: AP

Image:Tesla’s share price dropped on Monday. Pic: AP

The drop in Tesla’s share price on Monday was partly fuelled by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of Bitcoin and rival Ether “do seem high”.

On Tuesday, Tesla’s shares were down a further 6% in pre-market trading.

His comments came just two weeks after the company bought $1.5bn of Bitcoin, which sent the price of the cryptocurrency to new highs.

Bitcoin fell from a peak of $58,354 (£41,158) on Sunday to a low of $45,000 (£31,739) on Tuesday – and the price is still up more than 500% over the past year.

A German-based trader said he was “taking chips off the table” on Tesla as its $1.5bn (£1.06bn) investment in the cryptocurrency could “backfire now”.

Musk also tweeted on Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu”, confirming reports that the model had been removed from its online configurator.

Last week, Musk claimed he was not behind Tesla’s decision to buy $1.5bn in Bitcoin, and that it was a company business move.

“Tesla’s action is not directly reflective of my opinion,” he tweeted.

A representation of virtual currency Bitcoin is seen in front of a stock graph in this illustration taken November 19, 2020

Image:Tesla has invested $1.5bn (£1.06bn) in Bitcoin

He added: “Having some bitcoin, which is simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash, is adventurous enough for an S&P 500 company … When fiat [government-issued] currency has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere. Bitcoin is almost as bs as fiat money. The key word is ‘almost’.”

Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen, chief investment officer at asset manager NN IP, told Reuters that Musk’s decision to invest in Bitcoin could weigh on Tesla’s ESG rating.

Musk has been criticised for lauding Bitcoin prior to Tesla’s purchase of the cryptocurrency.

~ GTA 5 May Be Banned If New Bill Passes ~

Grand Theft Auto V, also known as GTA 5, may be banned if a new bill passes. This isn’t the first time the series and its developer Rockstar Games have attracted the attention of lawmakers and the US government, but it’s the first time in quite some time. The latest talking about the game is Rep. Marcus Evans Jr. out of Chicago, who is seeking to amend a law that dates back to 2012 and prevents certain video games from being purchased by minors.

Last week, the lawmaker filed HB3531, an amendment that wants to not just ban the sale of games featuring “psychological harm” and carjackings to minors, but to adults as well. According to Evans, these types of games promote criminal activities, which in turn, hurt the community.

“The bill would prohibit the sale of some of these games that promote the activities that we’re suffering from in our communities,” said Evans.

Adding to this, Early Walker — the founder of Operation Safe Pump, and who has worked with Evans Jr. on the bill — says GTA 5, in particular, has become an issue.

“I feel like this game has become a huge issue in this spectrum. When you compare the two, you see harsh similarities as it relates to these carjackings,” said Walker.

In addition to banning the sale of games that fall under the aforementioned criteria, the bill would also change the definition of what a “violent video game” is, or more specifically, to the following: “control a character within the video game that is encouraged to perpetuate human-on-human violence in which the player kills or otherwise causes serious physical or psychological harm to another human or an animal.”

For now, it remains to be seen what will come of the bill, but it has video game fans, and especially GTA fans, on alert. That said, this isn’t the first rodeo for either, and so far, both have been largely untouched by government legislation. And of course, if this bill becomes law, more than just GTA will be impacted.

As the story develops and as more information comes in, we will be sure to update the story accordingly. At the moment of publishing, there’s been no comment from any implicated party, including Take-Two Interactive and the ESA.

~ Everything has a Season Poem ~

Since the beginning of wouldn’t say time, well let’s just imagine it didn’t Exist

Where it was just you & me, the sun, the moon, flowers and trees

And no such thing as destruction I mean the most bottomless pit, but

Ants, plants and yeah we could add bees now the weather could be whatever we want it to be

Only Love lives here, but without hate how would we know how love feels that’s for a whole nother season

Let’s keep the ocean and whatever belongs in the sea only for us to see

Lets Keep the clouds never gets dark only if you are digging deep

Take a leap, well the ground hog decided too

You gotta believe at some point who else is going to

Things may seen steep but think nothing less , its a test of faith most of the season probably something we already a went through

Since in every season those hardships are blessing which prepared you for me and me for you

Use to feel like she’s was a devil in a dress or a genie from out the bottle

Just felt like dirty laundry caught up all in her mess

Now that’s a hard dream to swallow

And Everything has a season some are distractions from you knowing what’s your quest

And we not going to boast about tomorrow

So do you have a request? “Her” No

Oh how selfless are we

and not every seed is from the same tree but the root look the same but it’s hidden underneath

So Everything does has it seasoned, But, We just hope we are in the season where we need to be!!!

Cash App: $FlameKent

https://anchor.fm/intheboxflow/episodes/Everything-has-a-Season-Poem-by-MarKeith-ert2hj

~ Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Scary Hours 2 Review! Drake ~

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Scary Hours 2 Review! Drake https://anchor.fm/intheboxflow/episodes/Scary-Hours-2-Review–Drake-erm4oo

~ Get to Know the 3 Types of Influencers ~

It’s all about identifying, and adapting to, your expanding circles of trust.

In my experience, the average Joe or Jane Consumer breaks down who they are influenced by into three main buckets:

1. People they know.

2. People who are like them.

3. People who are trying to convince them. 

The “people they know” group includes family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and anyone else they identify with in their personal and professional life. These are individuals they have a real-world relationship with and trust intimately.

I don’t know my mayor or Oprah personally. They belong in the next group. “People who are like them” can mean they live in the same town; are similar in age, gender or another demographic; or share a common trait like supporting a certain sports team, musician or even product. This group can also apply to celebrities, politicians, media members or other notable individuals they identify with. The trust factor here derives from their sense of identity. They might trust a product recommendation or news, opinions or ideas they share, but they wouldn’t necessarily invite these people to dinner.

“People who are trying to convince them” includes anyone who doesn’t belong in the first two groups and is trying to sell, persuade, convince or otherwise influence them. Trust is hard to come by here. In fact, I would argue that if a consumer develops trust in someone from this group, that person or entity automatically moves into the second group. This is where your business starts from when approaching prospective customers. The trick, then, is to move into one of the first two groups. That’s a rudimentary explanation of what influence marketing is all about.

Let’s assume that you and your brand won’t get into group one. You can certainly stay in group three and settle for interrupting their day to force a transaction down their throat. While advertising can certainly be effective, it is often transactional and costly. But your influence marketing focus should be to make your way to the second group.

This is a powerful reminder that perhaps the most important step in the marketing process is to know your audience. You need to know what people, organizations, businesses or brands they identify with, have an affinity for and trust — and why. That knowledge will be a potent component of your success in achieving that group-two status.

How to align with people like them

What are the possible paths of affinity and trust? If you break down the various people, organizations, businesses and brands consumers tend to trust, you will get a sense of where to find your people with influence. Just as you visualized circles of influence around your brand, look at your target consumers and their circles of trust. According to Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin’s “Chatter Matters: The 2018 Word of Mouth Report,” the following resources are typically considered most trusted:

1. Yourself.

2. Brands you are familiar with.

3. Friends and family.

4. Online reviews.

5. Expert reviews.

6. Discounts or coupons.

7. The media.

8. Advertisements.

9. Friends’ posts in social media.

10. Brands’ posts in social media.

The only caveat is that those answers derived from a question about who people trust for advice and insight when making significant purchases. Even the vaunted Edelman Trust Barometer is biased toward looking at the trust in employers and brands. What we want to understand is who or what resources consumers trust in general.

My hypothesis is that a consumer’s circle of trust starts with our family and friends. We trust them for product recommendations, but we also trust them to babysit our children.

Next, we have peer groups. This might be our classmates at school, the people in our bridge club or even fellow members of a professional LinkedIn or Facebook Group. They have earned our trust over time through conversations and connections.

The next circle out is community members. That could be someone who lives in the same town — you know them, or you know of them — but it could also be fellow professionals in your industry whom you may have met at trade shows or conferences. These people share a set of experiences or values, so they have valuable advice for you. Next come experts and service professionals. This includes your doctor, lawyer, accountant, thought leaders in your industry, speakers at a conference and others with a high perceived level of expertise in the topic at hand. You may not know them personally, but you respect their experience and opinion on specific matters.

Beyond subject-matter experts, you look to trusted members of the media, which I argue also includes people with online influence. Note that I’m not referring to celebrities, who have their own ring further out on our circle of trust. I’m talking about reporters, critics, reviewers and even niche-topic entertainers, whose content we seek out to inform our lives. So if you stumble across Gordon Ramsay cooking a recipe on TV and are influenced by that, he’s more likely categorized as a celebrity. But if you proactively follow Ramsay and all his content online, he would fall more into this category of trusted media and online influencers.

This ring is also where you typically find bloggers and marketing experts trying to subdivide people with influence into smaller groups, like “micro” or “nano.” But remember, with Winfluence you are looking at influence from a broader perspective, not just those who have it on social networks. Don’t get caught up in the classification game. Brands come next in the circle of trust. The goal of that term I dislike — “influencer marketing” — is usually to borrow the trust consumers have in online influencers until you can become one yourself. However, many brands have already earned their customers’ trust through great customer service, solid products, or engaging and useful content, so I’ve given them a ring of their own.

Consumers trust some brands, but they have a harder time trusting the next level: advertisements and what I call “professional persuaders.” Professional persuaders are salesmen, government lobbyists, affiliate marketers and similar individuals whose only job is to persuade you to buy some product or idea. They are not interested in you as anything other than a potential customer.

Celebrities fall outside this ring simply because you wouldn’t trust most of them for qualified opinions on product recommendations and other issues. Research on ads using celebrity spokespeople consistently shows that ads with them are less effective than ads without. Valerie O’Regan, a Cal State Fullerton political science professor who studies the impact of celebrity endorsements on politics, wrote in a 2014 paper that young adults are more apt to listen to non-celebrity individuals when deciding how to vote, for example.

Finally, the outermost ring is for strangers. Few of us would trust a stranger to watch our purse or backpack while we went to the bathroom in a restaurant, but we might choose to try KFC’s new concoction on their recommendation. This underlines an important stipulation about the consumer’s circle of trust: The circles for one person may be different for someone else. Some individuals trust celebrities far more than they trust the media, for example. Some don’t trust brands at all, meaning those wouldn’t even appear on their chart. And, yes, in some circumstances even our own circles change, as the stranger in front of us at the convenience store may just persuade us to buy a ticket for the Powerball that day.

The line between the media and online influencers circle and the celebrities circle can also blur, as we alluded to with the Gordon Ramsay example earlier. So remember that the circles may shift or vary, depending on the specific audience or audience member. This categorization, though, is my attempt at a general view. Also remember these are all subcategories in the larger “People Like Them” category. These are the people who have influence over your audience. The more impact you can have closer to their inner circle of family and friends, the more effective your influence marketing efforts will be.

~ 10 Biggest Challenges Small Business Owners Face Right Now ~

The small business owner and entrepreneur has been challenged over the past year. How can you help those in need? Everyone needs a village.

Challenge 1: The Ability to Transition to a Digital-First World

Tyler Forte, Owner/CEO of Felix Homes says, “Large companies have the budget to quickly make this transition whether it means building new product features, offering more flexible payment options, or making sure your team stays productive while working from home.” 

Challenge 2: Lack of In-Person Networking Events

John Pinedo, Founder, Freedom Bound Business says, “In-person networking events were a great source of client acquisition for us. Zoom networking events are just not the same for obvious reasons. Prospects, local business owners, simply prefer face-to-face interactions.” Additionally, Sophie Bowman, Founder, Convert Your Followers, agreed. “The complete death of networking events, which are a lifeline for small business owners to expand their brand reach to the local target market” has been a massive challenge.

Challenge 3: Forward-Planning is Difficult

Jason Lee, Owner, Healthy Framework stated that “COVID is making forward planning near impossible. Without knowing how long it’s going to be here and to what degree, it’s nearly impossible to plan out marketing efforts, gauge staffing needs, or just know what our customers and clients need.” Reiterating this sentiment, Lainey Morse, Founder/President of Original Goat Yoga is in full agreement. “Over the past four years, we’ve expanded to 10 locations all over the USA. in March, we had to close all locations due to COVID. The hardest part has been trying to navigate opening back up at each location, only to be shut down again due to COVID surges. Spending marketing dollars on something that you’re not sure is going to happen has been a challenge and I’m not sure if I should just shut down and wait it out or if I should keep trying to open back up. Financially, it’s been devastating, and I fear if I wait too long, the viral engine that we’ve created will fade away.”

Challenge 4: Leaving Brick-and-Mortar

Adriane Galea, CEO, Beach Bum CEO notes that the biggest challenge is “pivoting business to be completely online. The brick-and-mortar business could not survive COVID, so, I’ve essentially started completely over with a digital business. But clients just aren’t spending money the way they were six months ago, or even two months ago.”

Challenge 5: Lacking WLB

Arnold Chapman, CEO, ELD Focus notes that work-life-balance has become difficult. “Before the pandemic, we can clock in and clock out, then leave all our work-related problems at the office. However, now that we’re all working from home, we are busy with taking care of the family while accomplishing our goals. As a result, it can be easy for us to get burned out for doing everything at the same time.”

Challenge 6: Increased Shipping Costs

Yassine Lamari, CEO, Gentleman’s Guru says, “We have had an increase in the cost of our overseas shipping prices due to COVID’s impact on shipping procedures. In addition, some customers have had to cancel events after purchasing items, and therefore return rates are up beyond normal levels.”

Challenge 7: Lacking Creativity

Ryan Scribner, Co-Owner, Investing Simple, states, “The number one challenge I am facing with my business is maintaining high levels of creativity in the virtual work environment we are in today. In the past, a lot of our best ideas came from group meetings where we all would meet and share our thoughts. I have found it is much more difficult to replicate this in an online environment. You simply do not feel the same energy over a Zoom call as you do in an in-person meeting.” Echoing this view, Jim Jacobs, CEO/Founder of Focus Insight said that their biggest challenge is “combating Zoom fatigue.”

Challenge 8: Blips in Production

Jessica Hill Howard, Founder/CEO, Sicily Hill states, “A big challenge is the upset in our production. The components of our products are produced in several factories across the United States and Asia. The varying state and government regulations dependent on the location affects the staffing capacities at our factories; thus, negatively impacting the turnaround times on our products. A recent production run took approximately 25% longer to complete compared to similar productions pre-COVID. This challenge led us to encounter significant inventory shortages as we headed into the busiest time of year for product demand.” Similarly, Wayne Miguel, COO/Partner, MightySkins stated, “Maintaining stock of necessary materials to continue day-to-day operations is a major challenge. Due to delays and breaks in the normal supply chain, we’ve experienced longer lead times on most materials out of stock for extended periods from some suppliers. The breakdown in the supply chain has made maintaining the standard increasingly difficult.”

Challenge 9: Pressure to Perform

Malte Scholz, CEO/CO-Founder of Airfocus states that a major challenge is the concern over “the external pressure COVID has put on everyone. People are not just concerned about their jobs anymore, but also about their health. The constant fear has taken its toll and I’ve noticed a drop in performance. The biggest problem is that I don’t know how to respond to this. On one hand, I feel that I need to address the drop in performance if the business will suffer. On the other hand, I can’t put additional pressure on people because I know they’re doing their best at the moment…”

Challenge 10: Long-Term vs. Short-Term Content

Michelle Devani, Founder of lovedevani states, “As someone who runs a business giving relationship advice, I think the biggest challenge that this pandemic has brought upon us is not knowing how much of our content should be evergreen and how much of it should be geared towards the pandemic. The problem with the evergreen content is that people might not see it as relatable, and the problem with COVID-themed content is that it won’t be relatable once the pandemic is over. So, really, the paradigm here is long-term vs. short-term.”

The world is struggling, personally and professionally alike. But, as these worlds collide, the challenges for the small business has been nothing like we’ve seen before. It’s no longer about taking a great idea and putting it into motion. It’s not about building an amazing team and watching it flourish. And it’s no longer about following a dream or taking a chance. We’ve lost great businesses over the past year. Businesses that make our nation unique. Dreams have been lost. Whether challenged by the transition to digital, the lack of in-person networking, inability to manage forward planning, unexpectedly having to leave the brick-and-mortar business model, lack of work-life-balance, increased shipping costs, the downturn in creativity, the blips in production, questioning long-term vs. short-term decisions, or the pressure to perform…we can all nod in agreement that these days are like no other. The one thing we know? It takes a village. 

Help your fellow man, purchase from the small business owner, encourage those you know to keep up the fight, and offer advice or assistance when able. Maybe in the end, it is not the ideas that ever made us great in the first place but rather the drive and determination that made it all happen. COVID has knocked us down but it will never take our perseverance. Be great.

~ Top 5 Social Media Marketing Pitfalls ~

1. Focusing on follower count

Followers are important in terms of building brand awareness, gaining leads and reaching new customers. However, you can’t simply collect followers like you collect antique teacups or vintage neon signs. 

It’s what you do after you gain a new follower that matters the most. If you gain followers but fail to interact with them, your page won’t gain much traction. Any small amount of organic reach you may have initially when a new follower joins isn’t going to last without the proper nurturing. 

Eventually, your followers won’t see your content if you’re not taking the time to build a relationship with them. In exchange for that “like” or “follow,” they expect you as a brand to make their time on your page worthwhile.

Pro tip: Followers are great, but keeping those followers is even better. Make sure you’re posting consistently — and posting content your audience wants to see (more on that next). In addition, reply to your followers’ engagement, questions, comments and customer service issues so they know there’s a real human behind your brand. 

2. Posting irrelevant, boring or salesy content

The content you post for your followers will either keep them coming back for more or cause you to get lost in the social media void. If your content is unrelatable to them, yawn-worthy or overly promotional, your followers will skip over it, or worse, unfollow you. The more your followers scroll past your content, the greater the odds that your content won’t make it into newsfeeds. 

In other words, just because you have 5,000 followers doesn’t mean all 5,000 of them will see your content. You have to post content they want to see in order to get more of your posts seen by not only your followers, but also their friends.

Pro tip: Create content that informs, educates, entertains or inspires. Roughly 80% of your content should be non-promotional, with the other 20% reserved for your sales, events and special offers. 

Essentially, the vast majority of your content should be focused on them, not you. Here are a few content ideas:

  • Owner or team member spotlights: Post a photo and a few fun facts.
  • How-to videos: Tell your followers how to use your products or services.
  • Customer testimonials: With permission, post a photo of a happy customer and thank them for their business.
  • Community or charity events: Do you work with a local school or nonprofit? Give them a shoutout with a photo highlighting how you’re supporting them.
  • Behind the scenes or throwback photos: What’s it like running your business? How did you get started? Post a pic to show your audience what goes on behind the scenes.
  • Influencer photos: Partner with influencers who can share their own experiences with your brand. You’ll reach entirely new followers with this type of third-party social proof.

3. Failing to boost content

The idea that social platforms are free marketing mediums is ancient history at this point. You have to pay to play if you want your followers to see your brand on social media.

Even the best content — while it may earn a modicum of organic reach — won’t get the same traction as boosted content. Your followers might initially see your content after liking your page, but over time, your visibility will drop unless you advertise.

Pro tip: Set an ad budget so you can boost the high-quality content described in number two above. Doing so ensures your content makes it into newsfeeds and reaches the right audience. You can set parameters for your target audience’s age, demographics, geographic location and more.

You can also create sponsored content that might be more promotional in nature. Think about the different ads you see as you’re scrolling through your feed or viewing stories on Facebook and Instagram. 

This content has the potential to reach new leads. With effective calls to action, you can drive website traffic, conversions and sales. 

4. Being tone-deaf

The current year has presented numerous challenges in terms of the economy, the health crisis, social justice and political matters. It’s important for brands to be aligned with and sensitive to these issues.

Unfortunately, what happens for some brands is that they’re tone-deaf to current events. They’re sending out the same marketing messages they always did, failing to account for what’s actually happening in the world. The timing and wording of their messages are out of touch with what their audience wants to see.

Imagine, for example, a travel agency inviting followers to book a weekend escape — at the height of the pandemic. This kind of out-of-context marketing won’t sit well with your followers. 

Pro tip: Your marketing messages need to align with current events without being offensive or irrelevant. Author Alison Weissbrot of Ad Exchanger, an integrated media and events company, advises staying away from sales-driven messages when discussing social justice. 

The same is true with any kind of major world event. When tensions are high and the general mood is more somber, the last thing your followers need is a brand pushing their web hosting service or organic nail polish.

Instead, adjust your social media content to address various issues and be a source of help, inclusion and inspiration. Back your words with action so you’re followers know what you stand for — and what you’re doing to help your community.

5. Doing it all yourself

When you first start a business, you might be handling your social media yourself. If you continue trying to DIY your social media, however, you’ll be taking time away from other aspects of running your business. 

Social media management and marketing, when done right, requires dedicated resources to handle a myriad of responsibilities, including:

  • Curating and posting content several times a week.
  • Boosting content and creating sponsored promotions.
  • Managing the community, i.e., responding to engagements and building brand loyalty.
  • Handling any customer service issues or negative online reviews.  
  • Keeping up with current events.
  • Analyzing results, establishing KPIs and tweaking the strategy to meet goals.

Pro tip:When your budget allows, hire a dedicated social media manager, if not a complete team of social media marketers. Some businesses outsource the work to an agency or use a combination of in-house and external resources.

Letting go of this responsibility will free you up to focus on growing your business. Plus, you’ll have more to talk about on social media if you’re actually out there networking, developing a sales pipeline, interacting within your community, building a rockstar team, and retaining your customers and employees.

Avoiding these five common pitfalls takes some effort. However, it also has the potential to help you grow your business significantly. Not only can you avoid becoming irrelevant, but you can also establish yourself as a market leader. 

~ 5-Step Formula to Rewire Your Brain for Entrepreneurial Success ~

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that things can change. Or, more bluntly stated: things have to change if they are to remain successful. Obviously, this last year has been brutal for many of us around the world. But, despite all this difficulty, we’ve seen unbelievable progress and pivoting that prove the most trying circumstances can present us with new opportunities. The secret? If we can transcend our normal methods and patterns of doing things, and take advantage of whatever situations we may encounter, we can find new levels of success.

But, I wanted to explore this secret a little bit more, and give you some actionable items that you could implement in your own life. So, I spoke with Dr. Alok Trivedi, a health and human behavior expert who is the author of Chasing Success and the founder of the Aligned Performance Institute. When I asked him if he had any advice for entrepreneurs during these trying times, he told me that the best way to deal with change is by changing ourselves. Or, as the title states: rewiring our brain.

Dr. Trivedi says the external factors of the world are mostly beyond our control, but how we adapt to them makes the difference between diverging successfully, or standing still and going nowhere. While it may feel safe to casually lounge in our comfort zone, any true entrepreneur knows that nothing will happen by staying still. Success, by its definition, requires a constant state of change and adaptation. But, it isn’t always easy to know how to start or where to go once you have started. Add in a pandemic into the mix, and sprinkle that with some extreme uncertainty, pivoting your path and rewiring your mind can seem almost impossible. 

The good news is that it isn’t! Dr. Trivedi reinforces the idea that all of us can manage our personal adaptations, while simultaneously changing our thoughts and actions to become more successful. In fact, we can actually “rewire” our brains on a cellular level to think and feel differently. We can start to reform who we are on a fundamental level and remodel ourselves to be geared for success. While this method may sound difficult, putting it into practice is actually relatively simple. Dr. Trivedi gave me five steps, specially targeted to entrepreneurs to help get them to start down a better path.

Step 1: Re-calibrate your expectations 

This basic step is the cornerstone of rewiring our brains. It can be easy to dwell on our mistakes and punish ourselves for past shortcomings. This past guilt causes us to lose confidence in the present and keeps us from moving forward. While this may be inherent in all of us, it is important to understand that we can overcome it.

What we need to do is consciously listen to our thoughts and the feedback those thoughts give us. You should be totally realistic and understand that there will be roadblocks and you will be imperfect. So, it’s ok when you mess up. However, instead of focusing on those mistakes, focus on what you have achieved and how you can keep going forward. Celebrate success and when you stumble, acknowledge the lessons learned. The more you do this, the more your brain will reorder itself so that success is your default mode. It will become your nature to bring up past triumphs, allowing you to pursue successful endeavors with a diminished sense of fear.

Step 2: Use 3-D thinking 

Next,  we should adjust the scale and the scope of our ambitions. In the 9 to 5 world, many employees think about their daily tasks and career path as a fairly straight line with tasks A-B-C as their mile markers. They get direction from their superior and carry on accomplishing the tasks set forth for them. Sometimes they get to add input and creativity. Sometimes they don’t. This type of day-to-day work is what Dr. Trivedi calls 2-dimensional thinking.

But, true entrepreneurs can’t think like this. Instead, entrepreneurs need to be able to think on their feet and handle anything that comes their way without an authority who can take the responsibility for its failure or success. This type of environment can feel intense and overwhelming to some, but to thrive, you need to make sure that you are thinking in three dimensions. Constantly tell yourself to expand your horizons and think about the issues in a deeper, more three dimensional way. 

What does that mean? We need to be able to build or discard new structures and adapt to any situation in which we find ourselves. Go with what works, but never become so complacent that you don’t see what is coming up next. Keep reinforcing the thought that you can handle anything and everything, but maintain the perspective that there is always room to improve and learn. Never stop growing. Never stop being creative. 

Step 3: Get into the Zone of Inspiration 

The Zone of Inspiration is a magical place. It’s where the seeds of our dreams were planted. It’s where your ambitions began transforming into action, then into reality. However, it’s as easy to get out of this zone as it is to get in it. Real-life details begin getting in the way, turning what was once a bright and exciting opportunity into a dull and frustrating grind. If this happens, it’s time to rewire your brain.

We want to recapture the initial inspiration that drove you to entrepreneurship and reinforce how much you love what your business stands for. This inspiration can come from anywhere: like what you can do for your customers or the freedom that comes along with the sacrifices you’ve made. Let yourself get back into the Zone of Inspiration, which will help you say “I love this” and “I am so proud of what I am doing.” 

Step 4: Become a mirror 

Mirror neurons fire within the brain when we perform an action that we also see others perform. They help us understand how we relate to what others are doing. As children, we learn many skills this way, and we understand how we should behave. What better way to find our sense of being successful than to mirror the actions of a successful person? The concept of observing in order to learn is nothing new, but this idea is a little deeper once you grow into adulthood. 

Imagine yourself embodying the successful elements of the successful person you are observing. Actually feel that success and let it be part of yourself, without losing yourself. 

Step 5: Ask “why not?”

Why is such a great question. It is the pickaxe that uncovers hidden nuggets of knowledge, but it can also strike the depths of doubt. Let’s not let it become negative. When you start asking yourself “why?” questions about anything positive, such as “why should I stick with this business?” or “why did I think I could do this?” turn that into “Why NOT!?!?!” Keep reinforcing that in your own mind. Remember that there is nothing stopping you. Why should I be an entrepreneur? Why NOT!?!?!?

Combining these five steps is truly easy. I keep a paper with each of these steps where I can see them. At first, I had to constantly correct myself and apply these steps. After awhile, it became easier. Then, after a good amount of time, I realized that I was doing these things almost naturally. I had rewired my brain, and I watched my life change for the better. Although it does take some work, rewiring your brain to succeed is a relatively simple process.

~ How to Test Your Facebook Ads for Optimal Results ~

#1: How to Test Your Facebook Ads for Optimal Results
Want better results from your Facebook ads? Wondering how to split test your ads? Learn how to use Facebook’s A/B Testing tool to test your Facebook ads to reveal the best audience, creative, and copy. Discover why it’s important to test your Facebook ads and find a method for testing that uses Google Analytics to refine your results.

#2: Pinterest for Business: A Content Strategy Guide (Watch on YouTube)
Want to use Pinterest for business? Looking for a Pinterest content strategy to follow? Learn what types of content to pin, how to develop and curate Pinterest content that works, and whether you should be pinning other people’s content.

#3: Twitter Spaces, Twitter Acquisitions, Twitter Fleets, and More
Explore Twitter Spaces, Twitter acquisitions, Twitter Fleets, and Instagram integration with Michael Stelzner and Twitter expert, Madalyn Sklar.

WHAT TO TEST?

Regardless of the method(s) you’re using, here are some examples of things you can test for your app installs or app event optimization campaigns when it comes to your ad creatives:

  • A single image ad vs. a single video ad;
  • A single video ad vs. another single video ad;
  • A single square video ad vs. the same video ad but in portrait;
  • A single video ad vs. a carousel ad with two videos;
  • An ad with one headline vs. an ad with a different headline;
  • An ad with an Install Now call to action vs. an ad with a Download call to action.
Facebook ad example
Different elements of your Facebook app install ads that you can test

When brainstorming your tests, form a hypothesis that you can use to get insights when analyzing the results.

A great way to find new creative concepts to test for your Facebook ads is to do 

~ Facebook Ads Rejected? Here’s What to Do ~

#1: Facebook Ads Rejected? Here’s What to Do
Did Facebook reject your ad? Wondering if there’s a way to avoid rejection or overturn decisions? Discover common mistakes that negatively impact Facebook ads and get tips to troubleshoot disapproved ads on your own. Also find out how to submit a request for review of a disputed ad.

#2: Pinterest for Business:A 5-Step Strategy for
Should Pinterest be part of your marketing strategy? Wondering where Pinterest fits in your overall marketing plan? Discover how to research and decide whether your business should be on Pinterest, and find a 5-step Pinterest marketing strategy.

#3: Facebook Group Engagement:How to Develop a Loyal Community.
Does your business manage a Facebook group? Wondering how to build an engaged group that supports your business goals? Find five steps to create a Facebook group that members will return to and engage with. Also get examples of posts you should be using and discover three types of posts to ban from your group.

Sponsors:

How to Succeed with 1:1 Personalization.
Is your marketing customer-centric? Do you know what your customers want to see from you? In this guide, you’ll learn how to improve customer experiences, relationships, and loyalty. The result will be increased conversion rates that yield significant, measurable business results.

~ Lakeith Stanfield Says He Needed Therapy After Filming ‘Judas and The Black Messiah’ ~

Lakeith Stanfield  put together a scene-stealing performance when he portrayed FBI informant William O’Neal in Judas and The Black Messiah.Yet, to do this, Stanfield had to explore some darker parts of himself to bring the character to life, which has now thrown off his emotional equilibrium once the production wrapped. 

During a recent interview with Level, Stanfield revealed that he had to go to therapy after Judas and The Black Messiah. He explains that his connection to Fred Hampton, actor Daniel Kaluuya, and the story made it hard for him to separate his real emotions from acting. He points to a cut scene of him having to poison Hampton as an example. 

“In the scene where I had to poison him, a lot of it didn’t end up making it to the final cut, but we shot [me mixing it in] Kool-Aid, and I had to go through all those emotions,” he said. “With somebody like Daniel, who I just respect as a human and an artist, as Fred Hampton, it felt like I was actually poisoning Chairman Fred Hampton.”

Playing the role of such a loathed figure in history also took a physical toll on Stanfield. He recalled experiencing panic attacks and other crucial moments where he realized therapy was needed. 

“So sometimes your body thinks that’s real, everything you’re putting it through. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so stressed out and having panic attacks. I realized going forward before I step into something like that again, maybe have a therapist,” he said before touching on how therapy helps him as a person and actor. 

“I’ve found this really cool therapist. It’s great and perfect for me right now. Hopefully, it continues to be the case. It’s helped me a lot. After doing press yesterday, I had another session and it was amazing,” he continued. “It helps you unlock things about yourself. It’s not even necessarily about the person that you’re doing therapy with, but like you said, perspectives and strategies and tools that you didn’t have access to before.”

~ 5 Cameras You Should Avoid ~

If you are reading this article, there’s a high chance that sooner or later you are going to buy a new camera. And as we all know, photography is not exactly a cheap hobby.

Maybe it is going to be your first more expensive camera or just the next one in line. You might have an idea about specs, brand, and lenses. However, there are still many pitfalls you should watch out for before you make your final decision. Here are 5 kinds of cameras you should definitely avoid.

#1. The Camera That You Will Not Take With You

It was Chase Jarvis who said that the best camera is the one that’s with you. It was then used by many including Steve Jobs while promoting the portability of the iPhone. And when you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense. Whether you buy a camera for work or just for amusement it is an investment that pays off for you by actually using the camera.

That is why the first kind of camera you should avoid is one that you won’t often take with you. Maybe you want to buy a big DSLR with a huge telephoto lens or two. Think carefully: are you really going to take your gear outside that often to be able to justify your purchase? Maybe none of this is the case for you, but it is a consideration worth making before it is too late.

I know because I have been there. I remember my walks with my Leica M240, and even though many people will tell you the camera is overpriced, I loved it for what it did for me and how I felt with it and I still do. But traveling through developing countries or less safe areas, I often felt very uncomfortable carrying around a camera that was this expensive. Now that I have kids and am often packing a lot of stuff for them, I am just happy to slip my Ricoh GR in my pocket and not worry about it.

#2. The Camera with Features You Think You Need Over the Ones You Actually Need

This kind of example brings me to the second type of gear you should avoid buying, and it is the one with features you think you’ll need over the ones you will really need. Let me explain.

With camera companies releasing new cameras every year, it can be tempting to reach for the latest and greatest, right? But when you think about what you are really going to do with the camera, you might realize that you not only don’t need to buy the latest tech — not buying it will also save you a lot of money you can use later to actually get better at photography.

I know, it can be tempting to get the latest camera with 20 frames per second in continuous autofocus. Well, if you are shooting the Olympics and need to deliver, this is, of course, an awesome feature to have. But if you are going to shoot landscapes, then not so much. Buying an f/1.4 lens can give you awesome bokeh but when you end up shooting street photography with f/8, you don’t really need it.

#3. The Camera You Cannot Afford

It happens to all of us, especially when looking at the second-hand camera market. You pick a lens or camera body you want to buy new or, in this example, used, and just when you are ready to pull the trigger, you find a slightly faster lens or slightly newer camera body and of course the price is a little higher. Just a little bit. However, since you are looking at gear that costs a bit more, you may as well look at the cameras at that similar price point. You find something else that is in a similar price range but you know it is a little more expensive.

The faster, lighter, newer gear will let you do much more and better, you tell yourself. But then, you see another… that, again, costs a bit more, and before you know it you are looking at gear that is totally out of your budget.

You can tell yourself how you can manage to pay for the camera. How you will work overtime or sell your other gear to make it work. But let me tell you, it is not worth it. There is always going to be gear that is a little bit more expensive than what you saved up for. But stretching it too far can be a great mistake. It may seem like a good idea at first but you will thank me later when you actually enjoy your camera free of the stress that comes with needing gear to pay for itself.

#4. The Camera Someone Else Tells You to Buy

The Internet revolutionized the buying process of new cameras since you can compare all the specs very quickly and easily. You can also find many reviews and opinions of experts but also users that have already purchased the one you want. However, with all of that useful knowledge come as many opinions as you can imagine. And it is fair to say that the more people get their hands on the product, the more information is available to us to make the decision.

Research has never been easier than it is now. The downside is that there is always going to be that one opinion who hates your dream lens or camera you saved up for. And even though you know you should ignore it because it is nonsense, it still stays in your mind.

Say you set your mind on the new Leica Q2 Monochrom. You love the design, you love the brand, and you are watching review after review to confirm your thoughts. And there it is that one guy or in this case group of people who think it is a waste of money, Leica is overpriced and overrated and you should buy a Sony or Canon instead, which you really don’t want. Somehow those comments are really so persuasive that you start to doubt your decision.

That’s why the next camera or lens you should not get is the one someone else tells you to get. Opinions of other people are just that: opinions of other people. Only you know what is best for you and how you going to use the camera.

#5. The Camera You Buy Just Because You Have the Money (or, Overcoming GAS)

You probably know this one as it is discussed very often. You are not happy anymore when you look at your photographs. You start to blame your gear, which is old and boring and the new gear you just saw will definitely make you a better photographer. You buy the new gear but after a while, you realize you are at the same spot again.

Instead of learning how to actually use the gear you already own, you browse the Internet to find new “inspiring” camera bodies and lenses. Maybe some of your friends suggest you should rent the gear to find out if you really need it or even sell some you don’t use. But that is nonsense, right? Why would you waste money renting the gear if you already know you are going to buy it?

You promise yourself to go out every single day with the new camera even though you have been just sitting home browsing the Internet for quite some time. With this one, it will be different!

And there it is: the next camera you should avoid is the one you buy just because you have the money for it. “Gear Acquisition Syndrome ” is kind of famous among photographers and it is not so easy to get rid of it. Well, first you have to admit you have the problem to be able to fix it.

That being said, we should probably talk about the gear that you actually should get if you decide that your iPhone is not good enough for you anymore. As photographers, we tend to be obsessed with the stats of new cameras and that is not a bad thing. Read the reviews, go check out the gear in the store. Consider renting if you are not sure you are going to like it.

Don’t switch to a different model at the last moment before you make a purchase, and when you eventually decide what you want, do not let few bad reviews get into your head to change your mind. I hope this article helps you with your next purchase.

~ Who Built the Egyptian Pyramids? Not Slaves ~

Pyramid workers were paid locals. Yet historical narratives and Hollywood films have made many believe the Jews built the pyramids while enslaved in Egypt.

There’s no end to conspiracy theories about who built the pyramids. Frequently they involve ancient aliens, lizard people, the Freemasons, or an advanced civilization that used forgotten technology. Scientists have tried and failed to combat these baseless ideas. But there is another misconception about pyramid construction that’s plagued Egyptian scholars for centuries: Slaves did not build the pyramids.

The best evidence suggests that pyramid workers were locals who were paid for their services and ate extremely well. We know this because archaeologists have found their tombs and other signs of the lives they lived. 

The Lives of Pyramid Workers

In 1990, a number of humble gravesites for pyramid workers were found a surprisingly short distance from the tombs of the pharaohs. Inside, archaeologists discovered all the necessary goods that pyramid workers would need to navigate passage to the afterlife — basic kindnesses unlikely to have been afforded common slaves. 

But that’s not all. Archaeologists have also spent years excavating a sprawling complex thought to have been a part-time home for thousands of workers. The site is called Heit el-Ghurab, and it was also likely part of a larger port city along the Nile River where food and supplies for the pyramid workers, as well as pyramid construction materials, were imported from across the region. Inside the rubble of Heit el-Ghurab, they found evidence for large barracks where as many as 1,600 or more workers could have slept together. And archaeologists also uncovered extensive remains from the many meals they ate, including abundant bread and huge quantities of meat, like cattle, goat, sheep and fish. 

These workers’ graffiti can also be found all over the buildings they created. The marks, written in Egyptian, were hidden on blocks inside the pyramids and were never meant to be seen. They record the names of various work gangs, including “the Drunkards of Menkaure” and “the Followers of the Powerful White Crown of Khufu.” (Both gangs were named after the respective pharaohs of their day.) Other marks signify towns and regions in Egypt. A few seem to function as mascots that represent a division of workers, and they feature images of animals such as ibises. 

Together, these hieroglyphics give archaeologists hints about where the workers came from, what their lives were like, and who they worked for. Nowhere have archaeologists found signs of slavery or foreign workers. Meanwhile, there is ample evidence of labor tax collection throughout ancient Egypt. That’s led some researchers to suggest workers might have rotated through tours of construction, like a form of national service. However, it’s also unclear if that means the workers were coerced.

Hollywood Myths of Egypt

So why do so many people think the Egyptian pyramids were built by slaves? The Greek historian Herodotus seems to have been the first to suggest that was the case. Herodotus has sometimes been called the “father of history.” Other times he’s been dubbed the “father of lies.” He claimed to have toured Egypt and wrote that the pyramids were built by slaves. But Herodotus actually lived thousands of years after the fact. Another obvious origin of the slave idea comes from the longstanding Judeo-Christian narrative that the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, as conveyed by the story of Moses in the book of Exodus.

Hollywood took the idea and ran with it. Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments Films. — originally released in 1923 and then reshot in 1956 — depicted a tale of the Israelites enslaved and forced to construct great buildings for the pharaohs. And as recently as 2014, the Ridley Scott movie Exodus: Gods and Kings depicted Christian Bale as Moses freeing the Jews from slavery as they built the pyramids. Egypt banned the film, citing “historical inaccuracies,” and its people have repeatedly spoken out against Hollywood movies that repeat Biblical narratives about Jewish people building Egyptian cities. Even the 1998 Dreamworks animated film, The Prince of Egypt, earned significant criticism for its depictions of Moses and Jewish slaves forced into construction projects. 

In fact, archaeologists have never found evidence for the Biblical tales that the Israeli people were imprisoned in Egypt. And even if the Jewish people were imprisoned in Egypt, it’s extremely unlikely that they would have built the pyramids. The last pyramid, the so-called Pyramid of Ahmose, was built roughly 3,500 years ago. That’s hundreds of years before historians think the Israeli people first appeared. It’s also centuries before the oldest known Egyptian reference to the Jews on the Victory Stele of Merneptah.

So, while archaeologists still have much to learn about the people who built the pyramids and how the work was organized and executed, it is easy to throw out this basic misconception. The pyramids were built by Egyptians. 

~ How to Script Videos for Social Media in 5 Steps ~

views and engagement in the Facebook or Instagram feed. You’ll also find out how to avoid one of the biggest mistakes people make when writing copy for videos

How to Script Videos for Social Media in 5 Steps by Matt Johnston on Social Media Examiner.

To learn how to script videos for social media, read the article below for an easy-to-follow walkthrough

How to Script a Story With Text Overlays for Facebook or Instagram Video

Have you ever seen videos on your Facebook or Instagram feed that don’t need sound to tell a story? They effectively weave a narrative with text on the screen. A lot of businesses use “text on screen” video, and when done right, they’re super-engaging.

The key to this type of video is the writing. Here’s how you can write a video script to tell a story with text overlays.

Start With a Hook

When you share video on Facebook or Instagram, there’s a metric called the drop-off rate. This is when people tend to stop watching your video and do other things on Facebook, like look at pictures of their friend’s kids or post pictures of their dog. Interacting with personal content is what they came to Facebook to do so don’t get hung up on trying to make them watch your whole video.

Your drop-off rate will never be amazing. If people on average only watch the first 10-15 seconds of your video, that simply means you need to put your best content right at the beginning. Make sure that people are taking whatever action you want them to at the start.

ALT

When you write a script for your video, start with the hook to grab people’s attention in the feed. If you have great footage, put it right at the beginning as your hook.

Learn How to Increase Your Engagement and Sales with Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

If you don’t have eye-catching footage, start with a headline hook—what I like to call a BuzzFeed-style headline. This is an enticing headline that teases exactly what viewers are going to get from the video so they’ll want to stick around. While you may not have attention-grabbing footage to make people stop and watch your video, your headline hook will draw them in.

ALT

Offer Your Most Shareable Piece of Information

Immediately following your hook, place the most shareable piece of information in your video. Whether it’s a story about an event that took place or a tip or trick, this is a case where you don’t want to save the best for last. Instead, it should go on the second slide of your video.

Give Context in the Body of the Story

Now you can get into the body of the story. This is where you give historical context to the story you’re telling in your video. Remember, these are short videos (generally only a minute long) so you won’t have a lot of content to expand on here.

Add an Extra Layer of Value

Next, add an extra layer of value to your video. Remember, people will have all sorts of videos and other content clamoring for their attention so make sure you always over-deliver on value. This could simply be a sentence that shows that you thought a little bit more about the topic you’re covering or puts it in a more historical context.

Share a Call to Action

The end of your video is where you share your call to action (CTA). Your CTA won’t necessarily be to ask viewers to share your video. Instead, you may want to have people check out another article or video or go to your website.

Case Study: Analyze the Script of an Effective Social Media Video

Now that you understand how to write a script for social media video, let’s look at an example of what this looks like when done effectively.

The video starts with the headline, “This revolutionary device lets you play the guitar in seconds.” It sets a clear click expectation for what people will get out of watching the video and it highlights the innovation. If this is something that resonates with people, they’ll stop scrolling and watch the video.

ALT

Next up is the most shareable piece of information. In this case, it lets people know that even if they’ve never picked up a guitar before, they can play one in seconds if they buy this product.

ALT

The second shareable piece of information is, “It’s like Guitar Hero for a real guitar.” At this point, viewers are hopefully intrigued that they can just push buttons and strum a guitar.

The body of the video starts with the name of the product and mentions it was a huge hit on a recent show, and then a clip from the show that showcases the product’s segment.

For the context, the video shows how the product works. “Just put [it] on the guitar, push a button, and strum. You’ll be playing perfect chords immediately. But the goal isn’t to use it forever. It’s a learning system….”

ALT

Next is the extra layer of value that explains how the inventor came up with the idea.

ALT

Finally, the video ends with the call to action: “You can buy it right now at [website url]”

ALT

I highly recommend that you look at how this video was crafted. It has made this company hundreds of thousands of dollars and this approach can work for your business, too.

Pro Tip: Make Your Video Script Conversational

The biggest mistake people make when using text overlays to tell a story with video is they write like they would for a college essay and the text ends up sounding too formal. People are automatically disconnected from what you’re saying; therefore, they’re disconnected from your business and won’t be interested in purchasing from you.

When you write a script for social media video, the writing should be more conversational and pass what I call the “dive bar test.” That is, make your script feel like you’re having a personal conversation with someone, similar to how you’d chat with a friend at a bar.

So after you’ve written the first draft of a script, look it over and see if the text sounds like something you’d say to a friend when you’re hanging out. This goes for all videos, whether you’re using them for organic purposes or in ads.

Conclusion

“Text on screen” videos can be a great way to tell a story about your business and products or services. The key is the script. Following this five-step process will help you compose easy-to-read copy to enhance your video and draw viewers in on social media.

~ The PS5’s biggest weakness is exposed by the PS2 ~

Last year we saw the long-awaited launch of the PS5, the latest in a long line of Sony consoles. 2020 was also notable in that it was the 20th anniversary of the PS2, which remains the best-selling games console of all time. Over 155 million units sold is no small feat.

Success aside, you’d think that the PS2 would be obsolete by now. The system is just over a month away from being old enough to drink, was discontinued worldwide in 2013 and has been succeeded by three different consoles. Four if you count the PS4 Pro as its own thing. Not to mention the fact that the PS2’s biggest draw, the DVD player, has long since been replaced by Blu-rays, streaming and digital downloads. 

  • Where to buy PS5: All the latest stock updates
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In other words, the PS2 is effectively obsolete. And yet, I recently found myself dusting off my PS2 and hooking it up to my TV so I could play one of my old games. As I tried to figure out which adapter I needed to plug it into my 4K TV, I got thinking about the absurdity of the whole thing 

Throughout the history of gaming, backwards compatibility has been the exception rather than the rule. Though it’s not been completely unheard of, even before it was popularized by the PlayStation 2.

It’s been around since at least 1985 with the release of the Sega Master System. It was able to play games from its predecessor, the SG-1000, and similarly Master System games could later be played on the Sega Genesis. Sadly, that trend did not continue with the launch of the CD-based Sega Saturn.

The PS2 is ancient by technological standards, and yet I still plan on actively playing it when I’m in the mood. That really shouldn’t be the case. In an age where you can (in theory) buy a PS5 that feels infinitely more powerful than its ancestor. You shouldn’t still need a PS2.

The issue is one that Sony has faced several times over the past 14 years: backwards compatibility. I wanted to play some classic PlayStation titles, and the more modern PlayStation consoles might as well be bricks. 

PS5: We need better backwards compatibility

The PS5 is backwards compatible to a point, in that you are able to play all PS4 games, whether it’s on disc or downloaded from the PlayStation store. Select games from older systems are available to purchase digitally, but discs from those consoles will not work with the PS5. 

Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X can play games dating all the way back to the 2001 launch of the original Xbox. Not all of them, but enough that it’s a major selling point for the console. You can just pop in your disc and sit back to enjoy the game.

Things weren’t always that way. While the Xbox 360 could play almost the entire Xbox catalogue, the Xbox One couldn’t say the same at launch. Xbox 360 game support didn’t arrive until two years later in 2015. And gamers had to wait another two years before they could play original Xbox titles on the latest machine. Fortunately Microsoft didn’t repeat those mistakes with the Series X.

While I still have an Xbox 360 (three in fact, don’t ask), I haven’t actually played any games on it for several years. It’s just a fancy ornament that occasionally lives on my shelf. So when I wanted to play Gears of War 1 through 3, in anticipation of a still-unfinished Gears 4 playthrough, I could. Likewise, playing Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order had me nostalgic for the days I spent playing The Force Unleashed, which is now sitting in my living room waiting for me to find the time to pop in the disc.

Sony doesn’t let you do that. If you want to play the original Shadow of the Colossus, or the still-great Spider-Man 2 movie tie-in, the PS5 (and PS4) are completely useless. You either have to dust off a PS2, or do as my colleague Imad Khan suggested and go hunting for a backwards compatible PS3. You just better hope that you don’t accidentally buy the wrong one.

Sony isn’t the only offender

Of course, backwards compatibility issues are not restricted to Sony consoles. In fact, Nintendo is probably the worst offender, on account of it constantly changing its physical media formats, and the digital game stores.

If you want to play a Wii game you better well have a Wii or Wii U, because the Nintendo Switch uses cartridges. GameCube games will play on the Wii, but only the original model that has ports for the right controllers and memory cards. Newer models, including the Wii U, will not play older titles without software modification.

What about the digital titles you purchased on Wii or Wii U? Those are only available on the older consoles, and since Nintendo is in the process of shutting down that particular flavor of the eShop, you better make sure you have copies saved to your console. Some games have been ported to the Switch, like Bayonetta 2 or Pokkén Tournament, but you’ll have to pay for them again.

Whether you keep older consoles around or not, it’s still not too much to ask for console-makers to take backwards compatibility into consideration when designing its machines. We’ve all heard about how powerful and fast the PS5 is, which is great, but if you have a hankering for anything made before November 2013, you’re out of luck. 

Considering the size and cost of the PS5, I’d have hoped for more. I shouldn’t have to work out what adapters I need to hook up my dusty old PS2, because the PS5 should be the only PlayStation I’ll ever need. But it’s not.

~ Cardi B Is Kicking Her Reebok Sneakers ‘Up’ a Notch With New Neon Colors ~

“Balenciaga Bardi” might be back with her latest single “Up,” but that’s not the only thing  Cardi B dropped on Friday (Feb. 5).

The rapper released three new neon versions of her Club C Cardi and the Cardi Coated Club Double sneakers from her Reebok collection, which you can find here. The two shoe models are now available in Hi Vis Green, Dynamic Pink and White colorways. Prices range from $80 to $100.

And for the kids like Kulture, she also released an exclusive Classic Pink color for grade school and toddler shoe sizes.

“Balenciaga Bardi” might be back with her latest single “Up,” but that’s not the only thing Cardi B dropped on Friday (Feb. 5).

The rapper released three new neon versions of her Club C Cardi and the Cardi Coated Club C Double sneakers from her Reebok collection, which you can find here. The two shoe models are now available in Hi Vis Green, Dynamic Pink and White colorways. Prices range from $80 to $100.

And for the kids like Kulture, she also released an exclusive Classic Pink color for grade school and toddler shoe sizes.

~ Perseverance’s First Full-Color Look at Mars ~

This is the first high-resolution, color image to be sent back by the Hazard Cameras (Hazcams) on the underside of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover after its landing on Feb. 18, 2021.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent missions by NASA in cooperation with ESA (the European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

~ Report: Houston Rockets, DeMarcus Cousins to part ways ~

DeMarcus Cousins’ time in Houston is coming to an end.

The Rockets and their veteran center are planning to part ways in the coming days, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The team is reportedly trying to go smaller and younger in the post, and will lean on Christian Wood there moving forward.

Cousins has averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 25 games for the Rockets this season, mostly off the bench. The 30-year-old signed a one year, $2.3 million deal with Houston this offseason, his first year back in the league after missing a season while recovering from an ACL injury.

Houston, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, fully guaranteed Cousins’ contract through the end of the season on Friday. Once the separation is official, Cousins will be able to sign wherever he wants.

Christian Wood to return soon after ankle injury

Wood went down with an ankle injury in Houston’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Feb. 4, and has been sidelined ever since.

The timing couldn’t have been worse, either, as Wood was in the midst of a career season while seeming to finally find his place in the league. The 25-year-old has averaged 22 points and 10.2 rebounds in 17 games for Houston this season. He signed a three year, $41 million deal with the Rockets before the season, his first with the team after short stints in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Detroit.

Yet now, though, Wood said he’s nearly ready to make his return — something he should be able to do after the All-Star break.

“It was tough. It was definitely hard to deal with at first,” Wood said, via the Houston Chronicle.“But then when I found out the news wasn’t as bad as it seemed, I was grateful and thankful that it could have been worse. I’m here. I’ll be back soon.

“I thought it was broken at the time just because of how high the swelling was and the way they thought it was broken. But it turned out it wasn’t. No structural damage. So, we’re good.”

~ 8 piece by FlameKentShow Review ~

Listening to @Flame Kent ‘8 Piece’ using My Mixtapez app https://mymixtapez.com/album/237420

This piece takes you inside the house and at the table where you have a 8 piece to choose from, some dishes you may not eat, but the ones you do you know it’s delicious.

8 piece is exactly what you expect it to be very energetic, repetitive, pain, and awesome medleys. This piece sets the tone and also Flame Kent brings you into his world where it almost makes well it does have you forget you were in reality already, he makes you see the words and understand the language that you tune into.

I give it a 9/10, or 5 stars because of the ideals, the storyline and the tunes that will have you moving regardless if you wanted to or not, so I’m hoping you will have that same amazing experience I had while listening to 8 piece!

~ Nick Cannon, ViacomCBS Re-Team On ‘Wild ‘N Out’ After Host Apologized For Anti-Semitic Remarks ~

Nick Cannon and ViacomCBS have re-united after the longtime host of Wild ‘N Out was fired last summer for what the company called “hateful speech and…anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” It means the improv competition, which had been renewed at VH1 for three more seasons ahead of Cannon’s controversial comments, will soon jump back into production, sources close to the situation tell Deadline.

ViacomCBS says that Cannon has apologized, taken responsibility for his comments, partnered with Jewish leaders to educate himself and has become an anti-hate advocate.

“I want to assure my Jewish friends, new and old, that this is only the beginning of my education—I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward,” Cannon said in a statement Thursday.

On a July 2020 episode of his podcast Cannon’s Class, Cannon discussed race and racism with former Public Enemy member Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin. Referencing the ideas of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Cannon said that people who have “the lack of pigment” are “a little less” than those who do, and have “a lack of compassion.”

He continued, “They’re acting out of fear. They’re acting out of low self esteem. They’re acting out of a deficiency. So therefore the only way they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape and [unintelligible] in order to survive.”

The comments drew ire online and led to ViacomCBS’s move to part ways. Cannon also had been prepping his eponymous syndicated daytime talk show from Debmar-Mercury, which was slated for a fall 2020 bow in 90% of the country before the controversy delayed that project as well. Cannon will now will launch this fall.

Cannon created, produced and hosted the original Wild’ N Out on MTV from 2005-2007. He returned to the air in 2013 with the new version, Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out, in which Cannon and celebrity guests lead a team of improv comedians as they go head-to-head in competition.

Cannon also hosts Fox’s The Masked Singer, which is going into production on Season 5 this week without Cannon for now as he recovers from Covid-19.

~ ELON MUSKDOGECOIN COULD BE THE FUTURE, BUT …Beware Tides of Crypto!!! ~

Elon Musk is giving Dogecoin major street cred in the tech/finance world — but says while it’s got potential to be the king of crypto … ya might not wanna go all-in on this gamble.

We got the Tesla chief out Friday night at BOA in WeHo … where he was signing a slew of autographs and posing for pics, masked up. Man, it’s been a while since we’ve seen this.

Anyway, we got to talking to him about the new cryptocurrency that’s all the rage these days — Dogecoin, which Elon and other celebs have been propping up lately … this as traders (both amateur and otherwise) have been praying for it to go “to the moon.”

https://d-11745092324087074533.ampproject.net/2101230412005/frame.html

Elon tweeted Doge is the “people’s crypto” and he doubled down with us — saying that the will of the people will determine its worth, and that he’s down to give it some exposure if it facilitates Doge’s growth to that end. BTW, Dogecoin has risen by some 600% since last year … it was once trading at well below a penny — and it’s gotten as high as 8 cents of late.

So, yes … it could very well be the next Bitcoin — which is worth $40k these days — but Elon does note the fact that Doge doesn’t have a cap or finite limit hurts it in the long run.

https://d-11745092324087074533.ampproject.net/2101230412005/frame.html

He also gives some great advice to new investors looking to get into the crypto game — and it basically amounts to this … sure, roll the dice … but not all your dice. Watch for yourself.

One last thing — Elon tells us crypto appears to be where money’s headed, but the question still remains … which one will come out on top??? He vouches for Dogecoin as having a shot at being top … well, dog. What started out as a meme/joke could be your next bank.

As he puts it, fate loves irony.

~ YouTube TrueView Ads Demystified: What Marketers Need to Know ~

The Social Media Marketing Workshops.

#1: YouTube TrueView Ads Demystified:What Marketers Need to Know  
Thinking of using skippable YouTube video ads? Wondering which TrueView ads you should try? Discover three types of YouTube TrueView ads to improve lead generation, brand awareness, and sales.

#2: Social Media Marketing Strategy in 5 steps (Watch on YouTube)
Need a better social media strategy that leads to conversions and sales? Wondering how to naturally accelerate the path to conversion? Discover a five-step plan for building buzz and handling objections to change people’s mindset so they’re ready to buy when you begin selling. You’ll also learn about three mistakes that can kill conversions.

#3: Using Facebook Ads Manager to Analyze your Ad Performance!
Want an easy way to analyze your Facebook ads? Wondering how to customize the metrics you see in Facebook Ads Manager? Discover how to create a custom report layout in Facebook Ads Manager. Learn how to add, delete, and organize Facebook Ads Manager columns to show the data that matters most to you and how to save your report for quick access in the future.

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~ 4 Influencer Marketing Secrets Entrepreneurs Need to Know ~

1. Co-create with your influencers.

Influencers are a direct extension of your brand, so act like they are. Sew them into the fabric of your company by creating content together. Rather than just telling them what to post, learn about them and their audience and how your brand fits into their daily life.

I recently spoke with Sebastian Merkhoffer for an episode of my new podcast. He said he’s currently recording eight-figure annual revenue for his company, FitVia, thanks mostly to influencer marketing. “Influencer marketing is becoming a standard part of the marketing mix. For us, success in developing our core partnerships has stemmed largely from co-creating content together,” he said.

Merkhoffer said FitVia has influencers bring his products wherever they go. “Recently, we sent a German influencer for a detox weekend where she took her followers, and our team, along for the ride. It’s something authentic and far more engaging than just posting a photo of your breakfast.”

2. Leverage IGTV as the latest go-to social channel.

By 2021, it’s predicted that mobile video will account for 78 percent of all mobile data traffic, according to Instagram. 

In June of last year, Instagram released IGTV to compete with YouTube. It wasn’t a home run off the bat, but marketers should stay keen on its advances to come.

“While user engagement with IGTV has been fairly disappointing so far, I expect Instagram to improve the functionality and visibility of IGTV content and put a lot more money behind getting brands to make use of the feature,” predicted  Michael Edelmann, senior marketing manager at The Business of Fashion, on Later.com.

As a brand, it’s integral to keep an eye on these shifts to immediately track how your social media collaborators are responding. Are they early adopters to all the latest platforms? Or are they a bit more reserved, and stick with what they know?

As Alfred Lua explained in a Buffer article, “You might also want to check out less-known and less-popular social media platforms as well. For example, Musical.ly, a platform for creating and sharing short videos, has become very popular among teens. Other platforms you can check out include Anchor, Medium and Tumblr. “

3. Focus on gen Z.

Millennials still hold the reins with more than $200 billion in purchasing power. However, gen Z is on track to become the largest group of consumers by 2020, and according to Millennial Marketing, they already account for $29 billion to $143 billion in direct spending. Gen Z is a growing section of the influencer economy across all platforms, making it vital for brands to consider their future consumer base.

For example, kidfluencers can be a massive opportunity for brands. “More people are looking at kid influencers for product recommendations. It’s definitely a long-term play. It’s building brand awareness and affinity through generations,” Zoe Marans, vice president of MediaKix, recently told Fast Company.

4. Slowly invest in influencer marketing.

Before you jump on the influencer marketing bandwagon, be cautious not to throw your entire marketing budget to YouTube stars. Sure, throwing $1 million at Beyonce to post about your product may reach hundreds of thousands, but that buzz will die in a matter of hours. Instead, start small to figure out what type of influencers will have the broadest impact.

“The key is to invest your budget into influencer marketing slowly,” Merkhoffer said. “I can’t stress how important it is to test, learn and then scale. The process iterates on itself and marketers must stay agile enough to integrate feedback as it comes through, not just once a quarter or annually.”

Even better, if you can use product or swag as payment to start a campaign, that can be an effective way to get influencer buy-in, especially if these are influencers that are already using your brand. As Lua explained, “If you are offering a discount or free samples for their followers, be sure to create a specific discount code or landing page for each influencer. That’s to help you with tracking the effectiveness of your campaign.”

Ready to ramp up your influencer marketing campaigns? Understand that success lies in your marketing team’s ability to nourish relationships that build trust between your brand and your target customer. Make sure you vet your influencers diligently and create a very clear deliverable so that everyone’s on the same page.

~ 2 Music Business Facebook Groups You Should be Apart of ~

One of the most underutilized tools for networking in this industry are Facebool groups. Tons of music industry-related groups are actively sharing knowledge within communities of like-minded individuals just like you every day. In these groups, you can ask for support, get advice, inquire about job opportunities and so much more. Here are some groups you should definitely be a part of…

Music Business Facebook Groups You Should Join

Artist Managers Connect

Artist Managers Connect is a digital community of artist managers from around the world who are dedicated to sharing knowledge, advice, and opportunities in order to better serve our artists and the industry as a whole. Industry pros and newbies alike have a lot to gain from this group.

“AMC is my favorite group on Facebook. Everybody in the group is supportive of each other and it’s opened up a lot of avenues for collaboration. They’re always doing meet-ups and events in various cities. Also, it’s not just for Artist Managers – members of the group work in all areas of the industry, so it’s a great way to meet new people and connect!”

Music Biz Besties

All you ladies out there, these next two are for you. Music Biz Besties is a private group for female musicians & industry leaders hosted and founded byKatherine Forbes. Katherine started the group with a love for networking and a yearning for a strong community of women all working together to make their dreams come to life.

In the group, you’ll have access to job opportunities, a community of music lovers just like you, and insights for how to make it in an industry that’s all about hustle and networking.

https://music.apple.com/us/album/trust-over-love-single/1548306685

~ The new rules of social media marketing in 2021 ~

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Sponsored by Hootsuite

We stand on the brink of a much-anticipated new year. Vaccines are rolling out, positive change is inching forward in areas of racial equality and climate action, and it’s fair to say that most people are feeling cautiously optimistic about 2021.

For marketers, 2021 planning will look a little different than in previous years. While it is true that change is constant in marketing, 2020 shook up the field so dramatically that many marketers are revisiting everything from personas and buyer journeys to brand purpose.

The resurgence of social media

One marketing discipline that rose back to prominence in 2020 is social media. It makes sense—as the world was forced to remain physically distanced, social media bridged the gap and kept us connected to family, friends, and the brands we love.

Until earlier this year, most brands knew where they stood on social media. They had the right balance of engagement, listening, content, and advertising. However, once the pandemic hit, the rules of the game changed.

New social rules for marketers

Hootsuite, the most widely used social media management platform, just released its annual Social Trends Report to help marketers plot their course in 2021. The report is based on a survey of 11,189 marketers and is supplemented with insights from interviews with dozens of industry experts and third-party research from leading industry analysts. Here are some of the highlights for marketers:

Trend #1: The race to ROI: Social bridges the gap to a new customer experience

Almost three-quarters of marketers surveyed for the report ranked “increased acquisition of new customers” as their top outcome for social media in 2021, a 58% year-over-year increase. However, transactions alone don’t create memorable brands or ensure long-term growth.

In 2021, marketers will continue to use social media to meet two equally urgent imperatives:

  1. Deliver short-term ROI with targeted performance marketing tactics
  2. Building innovative digital experiences to win long-term loyalty

Trend #2: Silence is golden: Brands find their place in the conversation

Many brands made the mistake of trying to capitalise on the increased social media activity during the pandemic, completely overlooking the fact that people primarily wanted to connect with each other, not brands.

For the most part, these brands saw the error of their ways early and pulled back on advertising spend, redirecting focus to crisis response, social customer care, and engagement. In 2021, marketers will strive to place more value on content over engagement—passive audiences are still consuming.

Brands like Guinness are tuning into the zeitgeist, giving people a reason to connect with one another over a virtual beer.

Trend #3: Way more than OK: A generation ignored by digital marketers booms on social

Marketers have typically targeted baby boomers through traditional TV advertising, which is still one of the most effective ways of reaching them. However, there has been a 66-point increase in baby boomers discovering new brands and products via social media over the past 4 years, and over a quarter of baby boomers are spending even longer on social platforms as a result of the pandemic. In 2021, social marketers will continue to explore this increasingly digitally savvy audience.

Poundland is one example of a brand sharing user generated content to increase brand favourability with baby boomers.

Trend #4: Do I know you? Tying engagement to identity gives advanced marketers new momentum

The pandemic has given executives renewed appreciation for social media, which became the strongest bridge for connecting with customers after so many traditional strategies collapsed.

Hootsuite’s research found that 85% of organisations that integrate social data into other systems have confidence in their organisation’s ability to accurately quantify the ROI of social media.

In 2021, marketers will take steps to bridge the gap between engagement and customer identity by connecting more customer data with social data.

Brands like Guinness are tuning into the zeitgeist, giving people a reason to connect with one another over a virtual beer.

Trend #5: The perils (and promise) of purpose: Bold brands start in the boardroom, not the front lines of social

In 2020, marketers stumbled under pressure to publicly address issues that their organisations had never focused on. Strong CMOs will use the intelligence gathered by social media teams in 2021 to help the organisation adapt to new buyer beliefs and pave a new path to growth that requires balancing the twin demands of building a better business and a better world.

~ Employees to Entrepreneurs ~

How do you incentivize employees to put in extra effort and take ownership of their roles? Easy, give them part of your business.

1. They possess energy.

The energy level of these employees is the first thing you’ll notice. They hustle. They work hard.null

They may show up late (but work later), and they will always impress you with the intensity that they pour into their jobs.

2. They are committed to personal improvement.

Growing leaders and entrepreneurs are focused on personal improvement. Often, this looks like reading a self-help book during lunch breaks or pouring over Lifehack articles.

Sometimes, this personal improvement seems to be ambition, ladder-climbing, or even opportunism. It all depends on your perspective, though. Any personal improvement that an employee makes is an improvement that the business can benefit from.

3. They make or support risky decisions.

Risk is baked into the definition of entrepreneurship. You’ll see this risk emerge in a variety of ways. In less mature forms, it can be wild adventures on the weekend. In its more sophisticated iteration, it can be a vote for a risky decision or coming up with a risky idea.

4. They may not be excellent team players,

Sometimes, the most entrepreneurial employees don’t work well on teams. They don’t think like other people, and may have trouble understanding or empathizing with alternate points of view. Visions of Steve Jobs come to mind.nullnull

Even though they are a strident team member, they are good team creators. Entrepreneurs are seldom lone rangers. They bring the right people together to make magic happen.

5. They love to create.

Entrepreneurial employees thrive when you hand them something to create. At its core, entrepreneurship is about creating something–taking ideas and bringing them to fruition.

6. They prefer loose oversight to micromanaged handholding.

Entrepreneurial employees are best handled loosely.

Your management style may either encourage their entrepreneurial behavior or inhibit it.

  • If you tend to manage your employees very closely (read micromanaging), then you won’t see their entrepreneurship as clearly. Instead, you will see their stifled creativity or stiffened behavior as resentment and dissatisfaction.
  • If you tend to manage your employees loosely, then their entrepreneurship will flourish. Entrepreneurs need space to think, create, and do, without the imaginary limits of strict oversight.

7. They seek you out to share their plans and ideas.

Your entrepreneurial employee has ideas that she wants to share with you–ideas for growing the company, expanding into new markets, or inventing new products.null

This is a telltale sign of an entrepreneurial employee.

She is trying to put her entrepreneurial vision into play by using the resources of the company, and that’s smart. That is the reason why this person will prove to be enormously valuable within the company.

Take a chance with these ideas. Put the ball back in her court, give her some leash, and see what she can do. You might be blown away by the results.

8. They have a side hustle.

According to studies the majority of entrepreneurs start a company because they desire to build wealth.

Many of today’s entrepreneurs launch into entrepreneurship by means of a “side hustle”–a part-time or weekend job, perhaps.

Don’t fear this or attempt to discourage it. Their side hustle may give them the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity that are fueling their “real job.”

9. They want to execute, not wait around talking about it.

Entrepreneurs are doers and thinkers, but they usually finish their thinking long before everyone else does.

Instead, they want to act. Ideas were meant to be executed, not discussed for hours on end. If your entrepreneurial employee gets fidgety during meetings, doesn’t show up to meetings, or simply wants to quit talking and start doing, you’re seeing the positive signs of entrepreneurial passion. 

10. They may threaten to leave. And they might even carry out their threat.

This is the downside of hiring entrepreneurial employees. They linger on the edge, possibly threatening to leave, and daydreaming about the day that they will be free.

That’s what drives many entrepreneurs–ultimate lifestyle freedom If you can give them more freedom in their position, a 4-hour Workweek (which they have probably read), then you may be able to hang on to them longer.

Conclusion

You may not love your entrepreneurial employee. You may clash with them–desperately at times!

That’s the price of having dynamite on your team. There’s no managerial law that says you have to be BFFs with your entrepreneurial employees, so don’t let this bother you.

If you have them, while you do, make the most of it. They may change your organization, and they may even change the world.

What are the characteristics of entrepreneurial employees that you’ve observed?

First Episode of many more to come! PODCAST!

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Kick the Church doors down! https://anchor.fm/intheboxflow/episodes/Kick-the-Church-doors-down-ep6kvc

~ The best coding toys for kids ~

If your youngster is already interested in computers (and other mobile gadgetry), now is the perfect time to seek out the best coding toys for kids. There are myriad apps, toys and games available to teach coding skills to children of all ages and jumpstart those future techie careers. These days, though, the sheer variety of such educational tools can be downright dizzying. 

In recent years, most educators would agree that open-ended playtime activities and the ability to “scale up” in complexity as a child grows older are useful rules of thumb when deciding which STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys to purchase.

“The easy advice is to look for something easy,” said Mike Matthews, director of curriculum and program innovation at Katherine Delmar Burke School, a private, all-girls school in the San Francisco Bay area that offers coding opportunities for its K–8 students. “Use really basic stuff to get kids into it.” Matthews also noted that coding skills don’t have to be tied to computer hardware; board games can be just as effective (and fun) for kids. The problem, he warned, is that some coding games can be too restrictive as players advance from one level to another. The end result? When kids get bored, they lose interest in a hurry. 

Mitchel Resnick, director of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, says in his book “Lifelong Kindergarten” (The MIT Press, 2017) that coding is as much a form of expression as it is a set of rules, and should be taught as such. Resnick’s team spearheaded the Scratch programming language, and he believes that children who use this language to focus on projects — rather than just solving puzzles — can understand how to code better, just as storytelling or writing improves literacy.

Today’s options for coding toys have become incredibly robust, and we’ve rounded up our favorites. From board games to programmable robots to Jedi mind tricks, here are some of the best coding toys for kids:

BEST CODING TOYS FOR YOUNGER KIDS

Animal Island AILA Sit & Play Virtual Early Preschool Learning System: $199 at Amazon

Ages: 1 to 8

If you want to encourage critical thinking skills from the get-go, consider the Animal Island Learning Adventure (AILA) Sit & Play Virtual Early Preschool Learning System, a hands-free, subscription-free virtual playground of educational content carefully curated by professional educators and industry innovators. The AILA Sit & Play uses a unique combination of hardware, software, cognitive AI and a robust preschool curriculum that comes in a colorful, toddler-friendly format. It’s one of the best ways to introduce your preschooler to math, problem-solving, and collaborative thinking. This educational tablet isn’t a coding toy per say, but the AILA Sit & Play will absolutely pave the way for the best coding toys found below as your toddler learns about basic colors, shapes, numbers, and words.VIEW DEAL

Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Twist: $34.99 at Amazon

Ages: 3 to 6

Fisher-Price is well known for its engaging toy lines aimed at small children, and Code-a-Pillar is no exception. The Code-a-Pillar is a set of eight colorful body segments and a head; each segment has a “direction” or “action” icon (for playing music or wiggling). By linking the segments together in sequence, the Code-a-Pillar Twist will follow that sequential set of instructions. The idea is teaching toddlers how to string together basic sequences of commands. The company also offers “expansion packs” for additional commands, like one for a 180-degree turn. Parents will likely be happy to learn that the Amazon Exclusive version of the toy includes ​volume control.VIEW DEAL

Primo Cubetto Classic: $239.95 at Target

Ages: 3 to 6

Made by startup Primo Toys, Cubetto was a Kickstarter project in 2016 that raised more than 15 times the set goal of $100,000. Designed for kids ages 3 years and up, Cubetto doesn’t require a screen. It’s an elegant wooden robot that kids can control by inserting wooden representations of programming commands — coding blocks — onto the board. These coding blocks are color-coded for what they do, and kids can experiment with putting them in different sequences. The company’s founder, Filippo Yacob, says in a video that he wanted to create an easy and inclusive programming tool that works for even very young children. VIEW DEAL

Fisher Price Code ‘n Learn Kinderbot: $59.99 at Amazon

Ages: 3 to 6

This cute robot is a great way to introduce preschoolers to STEM education, utilizing exciting code challenges to teach early math concepts, colors, letters and more. Kids can try out a variety of fun experiments to practice their coding and problem-solving skills — just in time for kindergarten. In Free Coding mode, children press the directional buttons on top of the robot to “code” a path, and then watch their bot buzz around. The included Secret Codebook teaches kids to follow directions and learn about different shapes; they can even turn their robot companion into different characters as they play. VIEW DEAL

Botzees AR Coding Robot: $99.99 at Amazon

Ages: 4 to 7

Are you raising an aspiring Rocket Raccoon? The Botzees AR Coding Robot is the perfect robot-companion for your preschooler, and it’s one of the best coding toys for kids overall. Young kids can use an app on iOS and Android devices to program their robot to move, drum, dance, make sounds and activate its lights on command. The kit includes 130 unique, easy-to-grip pieces (with rounded edges) to encourage hands-on learning as your preschooler navigates interactive augmented reality puzzles. Compatible with iOS 12+ devices that support ARKit (or Android 8+ devices that support ARCore), the Botzees AR Coding Robot turns screen time into learning time.VIEW DEAL

KIBO Robot Kit: $149 at Amazon

Ages: 4 to 7

Taking a different approach than many of its competitors, KIBO’s robot kit appeals to both the mechanically and artistically minded. Available in four different varieties, the KIBO kits come with tons of customizable options; additional programming blocks, modules, and other complementary curriculum is also available for purchase a la carte. 

What is the KIBO, exactly? Anything your child can imagine! They can design their interactive robot to become an animal, vehicle, or children’s story character as they customize their educational contraption. Colorful wooden blocks make the concept of coding more tangible for developing noggins, and the screen-less design eliminates distractions as your child learns about light, sight, distance, and sound. Long-story-short: It’s full-steam ahead for STEM-centric learning.VIEW DEAL

ThinkFun Robot Turtles: $24.99 at Amazon

Ages: 3 to 8

The best coding toys don’t always come the latest technological bells and whistles — sometimes simple tools suffice. In the Robot Turtles board game, players move their turtles around the board by giving their character specific instructions; the object is to reach the colorful jewels in the middle. A system of cards gives the turtles directions on where to move or, at more advanced levels, navigate around obstacles (for example, using a laser to melt an ice barrier). While playing, kids will learn to put together instructions in a sequence, an essential skill in coding. The best part? This inexpensive board game doesn’t require batteries or an Internet connection.VIEW DEAL

~ 4 Pillars of the New eCommerce Frontier Entrepreneurs Need to Embrace ~

The new frontier of ecommerce is full of rapid innovation. As the face of the industry changes, entrepreneurs must change with it.

1. Video marketing takes center stage

Ecommerce Marketing once revolved around text and copy, then it gradually became Image-based, now video marketing is taking center stage as the main medium for on-site marketing for ecommerce businesses. 

This was always the destination of on-site marketing and product reviews and in 2021, we just might see it take over the mainstream. Creating the perfect on-site experience is critical to ecommerce businesses’ success and is an important determinant to the final sales numbers. 

Product videos are comprehensive in nature without feeling bulky or tedious. They bring storytelling to life while offering a comprehensive view of the product in action and answering customer questions all in one go.  When done right Product Videos are a combination of Marketing, Reviews, and Answers to FAQs. 

The statistics now tilt overwhelmingly in the favor of video marketing, making it impossible to ignore in the new frontier of ecommerce.

These numbers reveal one clear truth, Video Marketing is going to define ecommerce for this decade and probably beyond. 

2. Voice commerce has become a defining force

  • People are 4 times more likely to watch a product video than read a product description
  • 73% of consumers are more likely to go ahead in purchasing a product after watching a video of it in action. 
  • Bounce rate falls dramatically on websites that feature product videos, with the average visitor session time increasing by over 340%
  • Watching Product videos make consumers more confident about their purchase, according to 52% of shoppers.

The increased use of voice-assisted devices like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa has become a defining feature of many of our lives. In the last 3 years, we have seen the reliance on these systems spread into product searches and even purchase. 

This has become increasingly popular, largely due to the increased effectiveness and accuracy of this technology With Amazon and Google now pushing regional languages, it has led ecommerce businesses to begin to adapt quickly. 

It is predicted that 75% of U.S households would have smart speakers by 2025 and that sales via voice commerce will rise to a massive $40 billion by 2022.

The realities of this evolution are clear, ecommerce businesses who have their websites optimized for voice searches will have an increasing chunk of customers fall freely into their conversion funnel. 

Ecommerce businesses should begin creating content that increases the probability of appearing in voice searches and should begin offering voice-based in-app and on-site navigation amongst other things. This way, you get your slice of the huge $40 billion pie beginning from 2021. 

3. Social shopping and commerce becomes a mainstay

87% of ecommerce shoppers believe that Social Media helps them make a buying decision. This trend is buoyed by the rapid rise in mobile usage and shopping, with 73% of total ecommerce sales predicted to be executed on mobile by the end of 2021. 

In 2019 Instagram launched its e-commerce checkout feature. This did not become an instant hit but has gradually grown popular with marketers overtime. 

Facebook, Pinterest, and even TikTok have caught on and are now beginning to integrate or popularize their in-app purchasing capabilities so that customers can buy items without ever leaving the social media app.

4. The rise of AR in ecommerce

If you have used the common silly Snapchat filters or tried to catch a pokemon before, then you have already used Augmented Reality (AR)in some way.

Augmented Reality has existed for a very long time, some even argue before social media, but it is only now coming mainstream and it is likely going to be a defining feature of ecommerce in 2021 and beyond. 

A Statista study projects that by 2023, AR technology would have become an $18 billion industry. It also predicts that consumer spending on AR-embedded mobile apps will reach $15 million by 2022. 

These are hard numbers, difficult to ignore, especially when we see how it is being used in ecommerce. For example, Sony electronics recently launched the Envision TV AR app as a way to “try before you use.”

One of the major criticisms of ecommerce over the years has been that customers do not get to “experience” the product before purchase. AR will solve that problem. 

Ecommerce businesses in the furniture sales space are already launching AR apps or in-app capabilities that allow customers to see a 3D model of the product, check its size, consider the specs , and to fit it in their space and do their interior design virtually before deciding on buying it. 

This technology is still evolving in the way it influences ecommerce, but when I consider the speed of its evolution, it’s pretty clear that it is going to trump even Video. 

63% of shoppers say that AR would transform their shopping experience. Another 70% are expected to be more loyal to AR-compliant brands as part of their shopping experience. 

The evolution of ecommerce is exciting and its potential is huge. However, it does call for staggering agility from ecommerce businesses and brands. 

It seems to me that brands who get a head start will enjoy a larger slice of the pie. My advice? Start today to evolve with the trends