• Guest Posts

    Posted on May 23rd, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Your startup does best when your employees can challenge & disagree with you

    Your startup does best when your employees can challenge & disagree with you

    Whether you run your own company or work for a great one, it’s important to always challenge the status quo and pursue constant improvement. Never let “that’s just how we’ve always done it” be a phrase that’s allowed in your workplace.

    At Kogan.com, our internal philosophy is, “There is always a better way.” We know that the way we do things today is just the best we’ve come up with until now, and that a better way is possible. All of our staff are trained to swim upstream and constantly challenge every process we have in our organization. If we don’t, we’ll very quickly become extinct.

    Charles Darwin taught us that it is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Although he was describing biological evolution, it applies to evolution in business as well.

    Too many fail to adapt and improve. It happens all around us, and to some of the biggest companies in the world. Here are just three examples of processes that are used by millions of people on a daily basis. But not a single person has put their hand up and taken responsibility to objectively question their logic, or how to improve them.

    Hotel room keys

    I’m sure you’ve stayed at a hote[...] Read More...

  • Finance

    Posted on May 21st, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Income Ideas for the Yield-Starved

    Income Ideas for the Yield-Starved

    Ah, to be a rentier! Gone are the days when Vladimir Lenin could rail against these “parasitic” capitalists for “clipping coupons” from their bonds while doing no work at all. Nowadays, with 10-year Treasury notes yielding a mere 2.5 percent and junk bonds barely 5 percent, investors who want a decent stream of income have to scramble.

    “All yields for almost every kind of security are at historical lows, for the most part,” says Ken Taubes, who oversees some $69 billion as chief investment officer of Pioneer Investments.

    What are the yield-starved to do? Here are five income investments to consider — and five to avoid.

    Consider: Municipal Bonds

    The average A-rated 20-year municipal bond yields 3.4 percent. That’s not great, but compared to what you get from 30-year Treasury bonds it’s golden if you’re wealthy. For investors in the highest, 39.6 percent federal tax bracket, that 3.7 percent has a taxable-equivalent yield of 5.6 percent. If you’re worried about credit quality, munis are a good option, because the Read More...

  • Guest Posts

    Posted on May 19th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Uber has taught us that lazy people are the best customers

    Uber has taught us that lazy people are the best customers

    Lazy, anti-social people: they’re your ultimate customers. To be assured of success today, create a service that appeals to people just active enough to push a button but too lazy to check their bank statements.

    Ideally, you should also ensure that customers can limit their interactions with other humans to the barest minimum. If you follow the money and the growth figures, it looks like we’re soon going to be living in an Uber-powered future where our gratification grows ever more instant. Why cook when there’s Graze boxes and JustEat? Why hail a cab when there’s an app to do it for you? Why bother with queues when Square’s new Square Order app will soon let you skip them?

    Uber started as a car service but the mutterings of their cold-eyed CEO Travis Kalanik combined with marketing experiments including variously differing chocolate, condoms and even kittens plus a courier pilot in New York, have long suggested there’s more to come. Uber isn’t a taxi service, it’s an algorithm-loving logistics firm with a knack for knowing how to match supply with demand and price it accordingly.

    It doesn’t have to stop with cars and it won’t. While its latest trick, UberJet allowing well-heeled c[...] Read More...

  • Finance

    Posted on May 15th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Budgeting Is Like Dieting: A Long, Twisty Road to Success

    Budgeting Is Like Dieting: A Long, Twisty Road to Success

    Budgeting is a hard financial habit to start and maintain. It’s like a following a diet: We typically know what to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle — eat right and exercise — but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for most of us.

    So yes, we know that we should budget each month, track our income, and track our expenses down to the last penny. Every dollar should have a job assigned to it. But we don’t budget, or only budget halfheartedly, with plenty of bouts of backsliding.

    Here are a few other ways that your budget will remind you of your diet — and a few ways to take back control over it.

    Commitment on All Aspects Will Generate the Best Results

    Many studies, like one from the National Institutes of Health, show that dieting and exercise together are the best recipe for a healthy lifestyle and for keeping off excess weight. Having one without the other limits the benefits that you can enjoy.

    Bu[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on May 7th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    How to successfully use email autoresponders without being obnoxious

    How to successfully use email autoresponders without being obnoxious

    Email autoresponders are one-to-one emails sent to a subscriber on your list that are triggered to add value to the experience a person has with your business online.

    Autoresponders are triggered by an action taken on your website or by a timer set by your team, whichever best suits the circumstances of the message sent to a user.

    A happy birthday message, a reminder to return to your shopping cart, an email re-introducing old content to your subscribers, an alert announcing new products to a customer based off of their past shopping habits and similar emails are all common forms of autoresponders businesses use to communicate with their customers.

    In order to achieve success with the use of autoresponders, it’s important that your emails accomplish the following goals:

    1. Building a long-term relationship with your subscribers.
    2. Your messaging is engaging and unique to your business.
    3. Increase the open-rates of your email campaigns.

    Here are three strategies for best achieving these goals with your organization’s autoresponder campaigns.

    1. Create an autoresponder series

    One of the best strategies for achieving success with autoresponders is delivering them to your customer base in a sequential mann[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on May 5th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Swatch Objects to Authorities Over Apple’s Use of IWatch Label

    Swatch Objects to Authorities Over Apple’s Use of IWatch Label

    Swatch Group AG (UHR), the world’s biggest watchmaker, has taken action against Apple Inc. (AAPL) over the most valuable technology company’s use of the iWatch label, as it’s too similar to its own iSwatch product, Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said.

    Swatch’s measures include pointing out the use of “iWatch” to authorities in all the countries where it has been registered as a trademark, Hayek said in a telephone interview on May 3. He didn’t say which countries had been contacted and when the measures started, adding there are no plans to take Apple to court.

    “This is the normal procedure to protect your own brand name,” Hayek said. “We react like this for all other brand names that we have protected.”

    Cupertino, California-based Apple hasn’t yet disclosed any specifics for an Internet-connected wristwatch. Swatch Group, with headquarters in Biel, Switzerland, sells a digital-display model called iSwatch. Apple may be looking to make inroads on that brand name because the two are too similar, Hayek said.

    Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple in Read More...

  • Mortgage Rates Slip on Slow Start to Spring Selling Season

    Mortgage Rates Slip on Slow Start to Spring Selling Season

    WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined slightly this week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

    Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan eased to 4.29 percent from 4.33 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.38 percent from 3.39 percent.

    Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago.

    Warmer weather has yet to boost home-buying as it normally does. Rising prices and higher rates have made affordability a problem for would-be buyers, while many homeowners are reluctant to list their properties for sale. Roughly a third of homeowners owe more on their mortgage than they could recoup from a sale.

    Data released Tuesday showed U.S. home-price gains slowed in February from a year earlier for the third straight month, as harsh winter weather and high prices have slowed sales. According to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, home prices fell in 13 of the 20 cities in February compared with January.

    Average prices nationally are expect[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on April 28th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    3 Free Personal Safety Apps that Can Call For Help

    3 Free Personal Safety Apps that Can Call For Help

    I’ve lived in “the big city” for all my life, and for the most part, I feel safe when I’m out for a night on the town. But traveling alone through certain areas, especially late at night, often makes me nervous. I’d feel a lot safer, generally, if there was someone there making the walk with me.

    Thankfully, if you own a mobile device, you’re never truly alone. If you have an ongoing concern for your personal safety, there are personal safety services that offer live monitoring, connecting you to a 24/7 dispatch service for $12 – $20 per month. But if you just want a way to warn your contacts if you fail to check-in or otherwise need to send out an SOS, there’s no need to pay. Here are 3 great free options for providing a little bit of extra piece of mind.

    NOTE: If you believe yourself to be in a real emergency, your first line of defense should always be to contact emergency services at 911. No app is 100% foolproof, and cannot substitute for professional first responders.

    bsafe app

    <[...] Read More...

  • Banking/Finance

    Posted on April 24th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Bank Cutting Commodities Trade Severs Link With Equities

    Bank Cutting Commodities Trade Severs Link With Equities

    Banks’ pullback from commodities trading is weakening the link between raw materials and equities and helping to re-establish supply and demand as the main factor in setting prices, United Nations researchers say.

    As Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley leave parts of the business, prices of commodities are moving more independently of stocks. The correlation between U.S. equities and corn, cattle and wheat fell to less than 0.05 in January, compared with almost 0.3 in 2008, an analysis by David Bicchetti and Nicolas Maystre, economic affairs officers at the UN Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, shows.

    Banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions piled into physical commodities and derivatives over the past 12 years, amplifying a run-up in prices for everything from copper to oil, in short supply before the 2008 global recession, the UN found in a 2011 study. The exodus is nudging futures markets back toward their original function, as a way for farmers, miners and other companies in the commodities business to hedge against price swings.

    “No[...] Read More...

  • Technology

    Posted on February 14th, 2014

    Written by Edward Burke

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    Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To Use Email

    Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To Use Email

     

     

     

    An interesting new app, Tocomail, is designed to help kids use email in a safe and protective environment.

    Parents can setup the service and select a personalized email address for kids. Interestingly, the app offers two different levels of UI with a simplified mode for younger kids and standard mode for older children.

    Here’s a quick video that gives you a rundown of the service. Click here if you can’t see it.

    Tocomail – Safe Email for Kids from Tocobox on Vimeo.

    Kids can customize their contact list and profile with different pictures. With the drawing board, kids can show their imaginative side by using a number of instruments like stamps, pens, postcards, and brushes, to create attachments.

    Read more: Tocomail Offers A Fun And Safe Way For Kids To[...] Read More...

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    Newer Posts Yeah! There are more posts, check them out.