Month: July 2018

Uber and Lyft encourage NYC customers to oppose proposed ride-hail cap legislation

Uber is making calls to some of its customers in New York City, offering to connect them to local council members to express their opposition to the proposed legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, BuzzFeed first reported. Meanwhile, Lyft is also reaching out to its NYC-based riders, asking them to contact their local officials.

For context, the NYC city council is currently considering legislation that would limit the number of ride-hail drivers on the road. Specifically, the proposal wants to place a one-year hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, unless the vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

This legislation would affect Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via — all of which operate ride-hailing services in the city. The deadline to submit an amended version of the proposal is tonight at midnight, so the clock is ticking.

Anyway, some people seem to be a bit upset about receiving calls from Uber, but Uber Director of Public Affairs Jason Post told TechCrunch the calls are simply one of its tactics that is consistent with its terms of services.

Uber is not calling every single customer in the city, Post said, but the company is making enough calls to yield a few dozen calls per council member. Though, why people are answering calls from unknown numbers is beyond me.

Uber is also employing an in-app takeover that notifies passengers of the legislative landscape in NYC.

“Uber has launched an App takeover so New Yorkers can read the Council’s bills for themselves,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe New Yorkers will join us in supporting living wages for drivers and opposing a cap that will harm outer borough riders who have come to rely on Uber because of the unreliable, or non-existent subway.”

Lyft says the proposals would affect wait times, driver earnings and job opportunities.

“Worst of all, the proposals prioritize corporate medallion owners above the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers,” a Lyft spokesperson said. “And while many are saying that this a cap would not diminish service, based on Lyft’s internal driver attrition trends, we believe the industry’s annual churn rate is at least 25%, meaning available drivers for New York City ride-share would shrink significantly within the next year if a cap were imposed, massively undercutting service levels across the board and in particular in outer-borough neighborhoods.”

Lyft’s VP of public policy, Joseph Okpaku, also noted in a Medium post that the cap would have even worse effects on communities of color.

“For communities of color, who, before the arrival of ridesharing, were denied equal transportation options, the impact will be felt even more strongly,” he wrote. “It will return us to the days when African-American and Latino New Yorkers had to worry whether they would get a ride every time they raised their hand to hail a cab.”

Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life

I’ve always had massive aspirations, dreams, and desires my entire life. With hard work, commitment, and a lot of journaling, I’m now living the life I’ve always dreamed of and wanted to create.

Journaling has been a massive part of my success. I personally journal daily as I believe that mindset is the key to everything!

Everything in my life, I have created through asking for it and it helped to first know what it was I was asking for. What was it that I wanted? Who did I want to be? What did I want to do? What was deep in my soul that I wanted to share with the world?

That’s where journaling came in!

There are a number of ways you can journal and you’ve probably come across a few.

What I want to share with you are a few basic and powerful questions you can ask yourself to get you focused, clear, and feeling empowered in any and every area of your life.

Below, I’ve put together some powerful journal prompts about life you can use to create what you truly desire. You can use them as much or as little as you need.

How This Works

Read the questions below then answer them in your journal. Write as little or as much as you feel. Don’t hold back. This is between you and yourself.

Deep down, you know the answer to everything you need to know. So, take your time and let it surface. If any question makes you feel like you do not want to answer it, I’d be seriously looking for a reason why.

journal writing

Let’s get to it!

  • What do I REALLY want?
  • What do I want to have?
  • How can I wake up every morning and feel amazing?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I want to be?
  • How can I re-frame or change this?
  • What would I need to believe in order to be and have and do all of that?
  • What action can I take right now to make this happen?
  • How do I know what’s preventing me from taking this action?

The next set of journaling prompts is what I use daily to describe and become super clear on creating what I considered to be my perfect day.

  • On your perfect day, where do you wake up?
  • Who is around you?
  • What is the first thing you see – describe your environment in detail.
  • Where do you go?
  • What is your ideal morning routine – describe in detail.
  • What do you eat?
  • How does the day feel to you?

The Crucial Part

life journal

I want you to list 5 to 10 powerful statements or beliefs that can support what you have just written down. Remember, it’s your beliefs that drive your choices and decisions. You must establish a set of powerful beliefs that support what you’re wanting to create and have in your life!

I’ll give you a few of mine so you have an example:

  • I allow myself always, to access my deepest intuitive powers.
  • I am guided by deep wisdom from within.
  • Everything always works out perfectly for me.
  • I have everything I need to know inside of me.
  • I FULLY trust my soul.
  • Every day, I choose to wake up and trust, that everything is taken care of.
  • I am safe to express myself always.

Through your journaling, you might discover you have a dream you want to work on. Instead of it feeling completely daunting and like it’s never going to happen, your powerful beliefs will be in place to support you in making it happen. It is possible if you decide for it to be.

Reiterating powerful beliefs will give you more energy and a drive which comes from within you. Use these journal prompts about life as regularly as you need.

Whatever it is you dream, no matter how grandiose or out of reach it may seem right now, for somebody somewhere in the world, it’s normal to live like that and be like that.

It’s just how life is and you can make it happen to you as well.

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

The post Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Blockchain media project Civil turns to Asia with fund to kickstart 100 new media ventures

Civil, the blockchain-based journalism organization, is casting its eye to Asia after it set up a $1 million fund that’s aimed at seeding 100 new media projects across the continent over the next three years. The organization has teamed up with Splice, a Singapore-based media startup which will manage the fund, according to an announcement.

There’s been a lot of attention lavished on Civil for its promise to make media work more efficiently using blockchain technology and its upcoming crypto token, CVL. The organization has raised $5 million in financing from ConsenSys, the blockchain corporation led by Ethereum co-creator Joe Lubin, and its ICO takes place next month with the goal of raising around $32 million to launch its network and actively onboard new media companies worldwide.

But the company is waiting around. Civil has already actively jumped into the media space — providing financial backing to the newly-formed The Colorado Sun — but the scope of the project in Asia is different in trying to kickstart a wave of new media organizations by giving them money to get off the ground.

Alan Soon, co-founder and CEO of Splice, told TechCrunch that it hasn’t been decided whether the financing will be in the form of grants or equity-based investments. Despite that, he said deals will be “pre-seed, micro-investments to help entrepreneurs take their ideas to prototype stage.”

Soon said that all kinds of media are in play, ranging from the more obvious suspects such as publishers, reporting websites and podcasts to behind-the-scenes tech like automation, bots and adtech.

Notably, though, he clarified that the beneficiaries of the fund will be under no obligation to adopt Civil’s protocol, the technology that will be funded by the upcoming ICO. Splice itself, however, has committed to doing so which will mean it gains access to the network’s content, licensing opportunities and more.

“I’m with Civil because I really believe in their values,” Soon added. “They want to do the right thing for this space.”

NASA study says setting off bombs over Mars isn’t the best idea

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Remember when Elon Musk said he wanted to nuke Mars

As he later clarified, the idea was to create two “pulsing suns” over the poles with fusion bombs, which would release trapped carbon dioxide to thicken the atmosphere and warm the planet. Next, people would pack up their belongings, board a spaceship, and touch down on a much more habitable Mars. 

This is called terraforming — altering a planet to make it more like Earth. (Yes, like in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.)

Welp, it looks like that plan has a fatal flaw, according to a NASA-sponsored study published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy. There just isn’t enough carbon dioxide trapped on Mars to make it work.  Read more…

More about Mars, Elon Musk, Terraform, Science, and Space

Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business

People do not like to wait. They don’t like being put on hold. They don’t like when a website takes forever to load. They don’t like waiting for a call or an email that they doubt will ever come at all. Generally, people don’t like being told to wait for anything. Anything at all. This is understandable because there’s really nothing more precious than time. In fact, there are so many distractions these days that people need to evaluate what they do with their time, which is the one single thing you can’t bring back. Once it is spent, it is gone forever.

This is also what businesses need to understand. If you want to keep your customers happy, get to their concerns as quickly as you can. A study on customer response time revealed that for 43.4% of customers, one business day is still an acceptable response time for emails. However, 43.9% want a response within four hours or less.

It’s a whole different story on social media. In a virtual world, more people want it extra fast. A related survey showed that a whopping 84 percent of customers prefer getting an instant response – that means within 24 hours after a post has been posted on social media.

Still, all these efforts and the hassles ultimately pay off in the end. A study from Autodeal about car dealership response time showed that dealers who respond to a customer in six hours or less have a better conversion rate. If the response time is reduced to under an hour, the conversion rate can increase by an additional 37%. People want it fast, and they associate good customer service with a quick response from the business’ end.

Now that we have pretty much settled on the importance of quick response times, let’s see how you can improve your brand’s quickness in customer response during a time where everyone seems to be impatient and easily-irked.

Sweeten your automated replies

improve customer response

A customer needs to know if his inquiry, feedback or complaint has reached the right people. This is important because only then will a customer know that he is valued and that his concerns matter.

A lot of companies now use automatic response emails to serve several purposes. Among them is to reach out to a customer, improve customer relationships, as well as give the company some time to sort things out, and craft an appropriate reply. You can have autoresponders via email or text.

But since everyone is doing it, you might want to make your messages more personal and less bland. For example, use their first names and not just the impersonal “sir/ma’am”. Draft your automatic responses in a way that sounds like it is coming from an actual human being — warm, sincere, and genuine. You might also want to consider adding a summary of their complaint, and a number of days when they could expect an action. Just be true to your word and stick to it.

Use a response software

It is not advisable to keep everything in your shared company email or to have someone manually print out everything and file them accordingly. It is best to invest in customer service software to improve your workflow and to make everyone’s life easier.

This type of software acts like your obsessive-compulsive secretary. It stores, sorts, tracks, and backs everything up. It can also be linked to your email to send those autoresponders and to your social media pages as well. A reference case number or a ticket can be issued for better tracking of concerns.

The good thing about this is it keeps everything centralized. Apart from that, the company can also keep messages and conversations that they might find helpful in the future. On the backend, you can store and sort messages, monitor response time of staff, and keep all the information and data that are very valuable these days. Through this, you will know what the top complaint about a product or a service is and work on it. You’ll also have a clearer picture as to the demographics of your market, which will allow you to target messages more effectively.

Direct them to FAQs

faqs

By this time, you probably already have an idea of what the frequently asked questions are. In your website, app or social media page, you may categorize these questions so that customers can be directed to your FAQ page. For all you know, customers don’t even need to contact you anymore. Just direct them to the said page. They most probably can solve whatever concerns they have on their own. This is called being proactive, something that customers always appreciate. In your automated emails or text messages, you may also add a link to your FAQs to let your customers know that this section exists.

Engage your employees

Improving customer response time can be a very mechanical thing, but since you are dealing with real people with real concerns, you need actual people responding to them. Companies need to engage their employees in the whole process — from setting an objective to the strategies. Remember that any software can only be as good as the people using them. You cannot set a 3-day response time if your company receives hundreds of inquiries and feedback a day and you only have five customer service officers.

Companies must also enhance employees’ soft skills such as communication techniques that involve listening, empathy, and exercising responsibility. At the same time, brush up on everyone’s technology skills to increase productivity and improve delivery.

See Also: Know Your Customers In The Digital Age

Speed is an essential component in improving customer relationships. However, it shouldn’t be achieved at the expense of quality. Any company must learn how to balance speed and quality of responses. While there are tools you can use such as automated emails and customer service apps and software, don’t underestimate soft skills that can only come from employees who have the heart for customer service.

The post Don’t Make Them Wait: How to Improve Customer Response Time for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Amazon’s Echo Spot is apparently free right now (Update: aaand it’s gone)

Update: Nothing gold can stay, Ponyboy. It was fun while it lasted, but both Spots are back to their original $129 asking price — and the white version still appears to be totally sold out. It looks as if the whole thing was a pricing mistake, rather than extra generosity on the part of Jeff B. So, nice work if you nabbed one in time. Keep those fingers crossed that it actually gets delivered. 

I like the Spot. It’s my favorite Echo. And due to what may well just be an error on Amazon’s part, the screen-sporting smart speaker is currently showing up for $0.00 — for those who can access it, at least. Some users are already registering it as Out of Stock.

The black version of the device is still listed as $99 — a much less killer deal, but still $29 down from the original asking price. It could be a pricing error, or maybe Amazon is trying to get rid of that old stock for some reason. Heck, maybe the company just really wants to get the Alexa delivery system in as many homes as humanly possible. This is certainly one way to do it. 

Chances seem decent it may never even ship — those who did order one (or three or four) are seeing a still pending delivery date. In either case, we’ve reached out to Amazon and will update when we hear back. 

Virgin America flight attendant has one more safety video dance

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A Virgin America flight attendant had one more safety video dance before the brand disappears forever. 

People were heartbroken last year when Alaska Airlines announced that it would phase out Virgin America’s brand by 2019. The company bought Virgin in a $2.6 billion merger in 2017, and promised to keep the “flair” that frequent fliers loved about Virgin, like its colorful mood lighting and upbeat loading music. 

In case you didn’t know, the safety video is a total bop. 

One flight attendant paid homage to Virgin’s brand — which seemed to embrace the complete opposite of what airlines are usually known for — by leading an enthusiastic dance to the flight safety video.  Read more…

More about Viral Videos, Virgin America, Culture, and Web Culture

S’mores Pie

Warm weather conjures images of nights spent outdoors, sitting around a campfire surrounded by friends. And with that image usually comes s’mores.

The combination of graham crackers, chocolate, and gooey marshmallows is a classic summertime treat for a reason. With this recipe, we have transformed the dessert into pie form, ideal for serving a crowd of people a summer dinner party or as part of a BBQ dessert spread.

Continue reading “S’mores Pie” »

Tesla is making a $1500… surfboard?

Tesla is no stranger to branded merch. Its got the standard company swag — the hats, the shirts, and the mugs. It’s got quirkier stuff, like miniature Teslas for kids and USB chargers shaped like the Superchargers that juice up their vehicles.

And now they’ve got… surfboards?

While it’s now gone for some reason, a product page went live in its shop early this morning detailing a $1500 Tesla-branded board (we’ve asked Tesla for insight, but it sounds like they sold out.) Electrek caught the description before the page vanished:

“Designed by the Tesla Design Studio in collaboration with Lost Surfboards and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, surfboard shaper for World Surf League Championship athletes. The Limited Edition Tesla Surfboard features a mix of the same high-quality matte and gloss finishes used on all our cars. The deck is reinforced with light-weight “Black Dart” carbon fiber, inspired by the interiors in our cars, and featuring tonal logos in subtle contrast gloss.”

(Update: the page is back up now, and it is, in fact, sold out)

While its unclear why the product page vanished, a Google cache of it is visible here, and a few people on Twitter mention being able to get orders in before it went down.

At $1500 before tax, the board is… certainly on the higher end of the surfboard pricing scale. A solid board from a company like JS or Ripcurl would cost you around $750. Most of the boards made by Lost (the company Tesla is doing the collab with here) go for around $700-800. But with a limited run of 200 boards, they’re probably going to sell out here anyway. My gut feeling is that many of these could end up being wall pieces or permanent roof rack accessories rather than shredding up the ocean — but who knows.

And for the curious surfers out there: based on Lost’s other “Black Dart” models, this board comes in at 6’8″ long. It doesn’t come with fins. The now-gone product page said all 200 boards should ship within 2-10 weeks.

Here’s all the photos that were on the product page:

Math determines that the more Tom Cruise runs, the better his movies are

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Arguably, Tom Cruise running his goddamn ass off is the glue that holds the Mission: Impossible franchise together. And now, we have math to prove it.

In celebration of the most recent addition to the franchise, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Rotten Tomatoes has crunched the numbers to find out exactly how much the man has sprinted throughout his nearly four-decade long career, and whether his running has a net positive effect for his films.

Spoiler alert: Tom Cruise’s running sells more tickets than Forrest Gump could ever hope to.

More about Entertainment, Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible, Rotten Tomatoes, and Mission Impossible Fallout

Why a $95 million bill to study tech’s effects on kids might actually pass this time

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Congress wants to spend $95 million to study how gadgets and social media affects children. 

The proposal for the Children and Media Research Advancement Act, or CAMRA Act, was introduced Thursday in the U.S. Senate. A bipartisan group is behind the bill, so it might actually have a chance of passing. 

The bill is not new. Back in 2004, then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman wanted to study the effects of electronic media on the youth. It fizzled out. The same thing happened when a version of the bill was introduced again in 2007 — just a few months before Steve Jobs introduced the iPhoneRead more…

More about Children, Congress, Social Media, Devices, and Tech Addiction

Twitter will suspend repeat offenders posting abusive comments on Periscope live streams

As part of Twitter’s attempted crackdown on abusive behavior across its network, the company announced on Friday afternoon a new policy facing those who repeatedly harass, threaten or otherwise make abusive comments during a Periscope broadcaster’s live stream. According to Twitter, the company will begin to more aggressively enforce its Periscope Community Guidelines by reviewing and suspending accounts of habitual offenders.

The plans were announced via a Periscope blog post and tweet that said everyone should be able to feel safe watching live video.

We’re committed to making sure everyone feels safe watching live video, whether you’re broadcasting or just tuning in. To create safer conversation, we’re launching more aggressive enforcement of our guidelines. https://t.co/dQdtnxCfx6

— Periscope (@PeriscopeCo) July 27, 2018

Currently, Periscope’s comment moderation policy involves group moderation.

That is, when one viewer reports a comment as “abuse,” “spam” or selects “other reason,” Periscope’s software will then randomly select a few other viewers to take a look and decide if the comment is abuse, spam or if it looks okay. The randomness factor here prevents a person (or persons) from using the reporting feature to shut down conversations. Only if a majority of the randomly selected voters agree the comment is spam or abuse does the commenter get suspended.

However, this suspension would only disable their ability to chat during the broadcast itself — it didn’t prevent them from continuing to watch other live broadcasts and make further abusive remarks in the comments. Though they would risk the temporary ban by doing so, they could still disrupt the conversation, and make the video creator — and their community — feel threatened or otherwise harassed.

Twitter says that accounts that repeatedly get suspended for violating its guidelines will soon be reviewed and suspended. This enhanced enforcement begins on August 10, and is one of several other changes Twitter is making to its product across Periscope and Twitter focused on user safety.

To what extent those changes have been working is questionable. Twitter may have policies in place around online harassment and abuse, but its enforcement has been hit-or-miss. But ridding its platform of unwanted accounts — including spam, despite the impact to monthly active user numbers — is something the company must do for its long-term health. The fact that so much hate and abuse is seemingly tolerated or overlooked on Twitter has been an issue for some time, and the problem continues today. And it could be one of the factors in Twitter’s stagnant user growth. After all, who willingly signs up for harassment?

The company is at least attempting to address the problem, most recently by acquiring the anti-abuse technology provider Smyte. Its transition to Twitter didn’t go so well, but the technology it offers the company could help Twitter address abuse at a greater scale in the future.

Award-Winning Pecan-Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken

This post brought to you in partnership with American Pecans.

We love any excuse to try a new chicken recipe, especially Hot Chicken! A few months ago, our friends at American Pecans hosted the #NotJustPie contest on Instagram and Twitter, asking fans to break pecans out of the pie shell and show off their best non-pie pecan recipes, and it’s clear why this Pecan-Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken came out on top.

Continue reading “Award-Winning Pecan-Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken” »

A Quick List of Adventure Activities You Must Try

Whenever you find that you are losing focus on your mundane activities and daily chores, it merely implies that you need to relax and take it easy. There is no better way to break free from the monotony of everyday life than to set off on a short holiday. Whatever the case may be, make sure you enjoy each moment to the fullest. In this write-up, we’ll share with you a list of adventure activities you’ll definitely find appealing.

Let’s take a look at them:

Skiing

skiing vacation

With dusty mountains and soft snow around, you will undoubtedly be lured to try out the skiing facilities available at the resorts. Few of the best destinations for this sport include Austria, Switzerland, France, Quebec, Japan, and Dubai.

White shark cage diving

Some places in South Africa offer tourists the opportunity to dive with sharks. Yes, that is right!

Gansbaai, located on the southern side of Cape Town, is the place. You can also try and explore Mossel Bay. In fact, Cape Town is often referred to as the capital for white sharks.

Skydiving

Can you imagine jumping out of a plane and allowing yourself to fall freely while gradually embracing gravity? Usually meant for the strong hearted, skydiving will put even the bravest to the test.

Of course, you can always enjoy seeing someone else perform this stance. You will find spots in almost every country including Israel, Egypt, Malaysia, France, Spain, Norway, and Germany to name a few.

Surfing

Some exotic places where you can explore or try surfing are the Hawaiian Islands, South Africa, the Indonesian Archipelago, and French Polynesia.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is perhaps one adventurous activity you can indulge in. There are many places around the globe where horse riding is offered.

Whether you are a die-hard fan of Gulf stream horse track races or you want to just try out for your leisure, the most prominent places that you will find this sport include Western Riding (USA), South Africa, Iceland, Andalucía in Spain, Macedonia, Botswana, and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Paddle Boarding

paddle boarding vacation

There are many reasons for indulging in this sport. It not only relaxes you, but it is an excellent form of exercise as well.

So, if you are not able to hit the gym while you are on holiday, this activity will perhaps keep you on your toes and keep your weight in check.

Conclusion

Regardless of the type of adventure sports you indulge in, just make sure that you ponder over a few critical points to ensure your safety and that you make your trip a memorable one.

These include the following:

  • Make sure you are ready to take on the sport as far as health is concerned
  • Find out the rules and get acquainted with the guidelines
  • Seek assistance from a professional
  • Keep your medical kit handy

If your thrill-seeking heart is craving for a vacation, you can consider this list of adventurous activities that’ll give you the experience of a lifetime!

The post A Quick List of Adventure Activities You Must Try appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

WeWork China raises $500M to triple the number of cities it covers

WeWork’s China business is getting a fresh injection of capital after it raised $500 million.

The company entered China two years ago and today it covers Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu with nearly 40 locations. It claims 20,000 members, and it is also active in Hong Kong, which technically falls under ‘Greater China.’

The new capital comes from Trustbridge Partners, Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank, SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Hony Capital. WeWork said it’ll be used for expansion into six new cities: those are Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Wuhan. This new raise is a Series B, WeWork China previously scored a $500 million Series A last year, which was also when the Chinese entity was founded.

The company has been pretty busy over that 12-month period, most notably it scooped up its largest rival, Naked Hub, in an acquisition deal that is worth a reported $400 million and massively grew its reach.

Naked Hub builds on WeWork’s presence in Greater China by adding 24 office locations and a further 10,000 members. That’s why WeWork China’s figures are so impressive for just two years of operations. Now, this new capital will put WeWork’s own DNA into that network through this planned expansion spree.

“This investment will help WeWork fuel our mission to support creators, small businesses, and large companies across China,” WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann said in a statement. “WeWork has built an incredible team in China that supports our members every day, serving as a bridge for local companies who want to reach the world as well as for global companies that want to enter the Chinese market.”

Outside of China, WeWork is also making inroads in India — where it launched in 2017 — Korea, Japan (where it operates a joint venture with SoftBank) and Southeast Asia, where it made an acquisition to kick-start its presence. Indeed, WeWork has a float of around $500 million for its operations in Southeast Asia and Korea, although the total pot for India is unknown at this point.

WeWork China’s big raise comes days after Hong Kong’s Campfire pulled in $18 million and Awfis in India raised $20 million.

Britney Spears obsesses over horses and mermaid pillows with BFF Jimmy Fallon

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Britney Spears joined Jimmy Fallon for a totally ahmazeng instalment of recurring Tonight Show sketch “Ew,” on Thursday.

Reuniting for a sleepover after meeting at camp, Sara (Fallon) and her BFF Abby (Spears) obsessed over horses and custom mermaid pillows, traded Throwback Thursday Instagram photos, and nailed Fashion Freeze.

There’s a perfect “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” throwback, plus, they totally gave mad love to Steve Carell in here, especially for his work in Dahspackabal Mah Thrah. Read more…

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Replacing Windows? Demand The Best Service

Knowing how to choose replacement windows and who should do it in your Colorado home can be a daunting task.

To start with, you have to figure out what kind of windows will work best for you and since you’re an expert in something other than windows, this can be a chore all by itself. You’ll get quotes from different replacement window firms, and each might come back with a different recommendation.

Wood? Aluminum?

And is the company recommending these windows because they’re really the best choice for you or is there some other motivation for the recommendation? Might they be recommending the windows for which they will get the highest markup, for instance?

(Here’s a hint: In Colorado, you want locally-made vinyl windows built and designed with our unique Rocky Mountain climate and altitude in mind.)

Then, there’s price to consider.

One homeowner recently received quotes from three replacement window installers – including a well-known “big box” retailer whose name you’d instantly recognize – and was shocked to see that the costs ran from “x” to “2x!”

How can one firm charge twice as much as another for the same job?

Another hint: Don’t pay 2x! The lowest bid isn’t always the best overall deal.

So, suppose you find two or three firms who come back with comparable bids and recommendations for high-quality vinyl replacement window installation. How do you choose among them?

Ask about service.

The best firms hold themselves to the highest standards of service quality. Go with the firm you think really aims to delight their customers.

Time Is Money

call replacement window company

If you call a replacement window company and they tell you they can have someone out to give you an estimate sometime between Thursday and April, that will tell you something about their service.

Maybe that example is a bit of an exaggeration but if the company doesn’t handle your job in a timely manner, it does say a lot about how much they value their customers.

Every business gets busy. A professional window installer’s time is valuable and so is your time.

You can sometimes tell, early in the process, whether a firm holds itself to a high service standard simply by evaluating how long it takes them to respond to your request for an estimate.

If the firm sends someone out to look at your job right away (within a few hours, or a couple of days, at most) and if the person who shows up is efficient, knowledgeable, and professional, that also sends you a message.

They care about their service levels. They care about you.

Cleanliness Is Good, Too

Say you have to choose between two firms who sent a prompt professional to estimate your job. You’ll ask each of them when they could start the work and how long the job will take.

Some jobs can be completed in a day. Others are completed over a period of two days or more.

If your job is one that will take more than a day, ask the installation firms what you can expect at the end of each shift. If they’re surprised by the question, that’s part of your answer!

The best firms not only anticipate the question but they have a procedure in place to keep things neat and tidy while they’re away from your property.

To the installation firm, maybe it’s a “job site” but the best firms think of it more as your home or place of business. And they have systems in place to ensure that they treat the place accordingly.

It’s About Respect

check reviews

Look at the testimonials and online reviews for the replacement window companies you’re considering. You’ll probably be able to tell a lot about the level of respect each firm has for its customers.

The best firms have glowing reviews from happy customers who received great products at a great price and excellent service as well.

The installers are friendly and courteous. The “job site” is kept clean and tidy during and after each shift. And the company do what they promise to do.

And if some tricky problem comes up during the installation, the firm should be able to handle it like a professional.

More than one company will say they want your replacement-window business. But if you ask a couple of questions and check out some online reviews, you’ll be able to tell which firms really do value you. They’re the ones who hold themselves to high standards of customer service.

See Also: What Would a Home Economist, an Environmentalist, an Allergist, and Your Mother Say About Your Home Windows?

The post Replacing Windows? Demand The Best Service appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

‘The Late Show’ has its own version of the secret Trump-Cohen tape

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So, we’ve heard the audio of the secret recording between Donald Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, but now there’s video?

Well, at least a video made by Stephen Colbert and The Late Show team.

The late night show has crafted their own comedic video accompaniment to the real 2016 recording aired by CNN on Tuesday. 

In the audio clip, Trump and Cohen discuss a payment for Playboy model Karen McDougal’s story, in which she claimed she had an affair with Trump in 2006. 

In 2016, the Wall Street Journal revealed that American Media — which owns the pro-Trump National Enquirer — bought the rights to the model’s story for $150,000, but didn’t publish it. Read more…

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Korean hotel firm Yanolja moves into Southeast Asia with $15M investment in Zen Rooms

Zen Rooms, the budget hotel network startup founded by Rocket Internet, had faced the deadpool earlier this year after a prospective funding deal collapsed, but now the business appears to have found a home. Korea’s Yanolja, a popular motel brand that has branched out into app-based hotel bookings, has made a strategic investment that could see it fully acquire the business.

Ten-year-old Yanolja is initially paying $15 million for an undisclosed “strategic non-controlling stake,” but it will retain the rights to buy 100 percent of the Zen Rooms business. Zen Rooms clarified that the acquisition is an option and not based on performance or financial metrics.

Founded by a former hotel worker, Lee Su-jin, Yanolja is best known for its lovel hotels although it is trying to clean up the general image of short-stay hotels by promoting them as destinations for business travelers, tourists and families, as noted by a Bloomberg profile story. The company has also grown its own app-based booking service which among the most used in its homeland with 20,000 rooms.

The company is reportedly planning an IPO, so expansion is on its mind.

For those reasons, Zen Rooms fits that new focus. The company borrowed the budget hotel model, first pioneered by SoftBank-backed Oyo in India, and brought it to Southeast Asia when it launched three years ago. The concept is simple, Zen Rooms guarantees minimum standards at all hotels including free WiFi, fresh towels and bedding, hot showers, etc all of which is controlled via a mobile app. Those standards are normal to most hotel stayers, but when traveling in the East, standards can vary wildly especially at budget hotels, which Zen Rooms is focused on.

For hotels, Zen Rooms manages the brand — and sometimes more — and it allows helps them tap the internet to find customers and bookings.

Today, Zen Rooms is active in six cities in Southeast Asia — it had previously also run operations in Brazil, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka — across which it claims to operate 1,000 hotel franchisees with an inventory of more than 7,000 rooms. Its rivals in Southeast Asia include Red Doorz, which raised $11 million earlier this year.

The startup has raised $8 million from investors to date, including a $4.1 million Series A last April that was led by Korea’s Redbadge Pacific and SBI Investment Korea with participation Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG), the joint venture fund in Asia between Rocket Internet and Qatari operator Ooredoo.

However, TechCrunch understands that a major funding deal of over $10 million fell apart in Q1 2018 which left the company with a rapidly depleting runway. As a result and as TechCrunch reported in March, the company was aggressively shopped to potential buyers, investors and rival companies in order to keep the business afloat.

Yanolja has come to the rescue but a full buy-out looks like it will be dependent on the company’s future performance, such is often the arrangement with strategic deals made with a view to full ownership. Rocket Internet, which remains a major investor in Zen Rooms, will hope that the deal goes as smoothly as Lazada, its e-commerce service that is now owned by Alibaba.

Lazada ran out of capital in similar circumstances in early 2016 and Alibaba, the Chinese internet giant, came to its aid with a $1 billion investment. Although that was a majority investment it wasn’t a full-on buyoutAlibaba later increased its holdings until it fully owned the business, and today it is a key part of the firm’s overseas expansion strategy.

Already, TechCrunch understands from one source that Zen Rooms has gone on a hiring spree in recent weeks after it closed the deal. It had earlier been forced to make cutbacks to its team as a result of cost-cutting following the collapse of the funding deal earlier in the year.

“We now have the capital to invest,” ZenRooms co-founder Kiren Tanna told TechCrunch. “The deal has been in discussion since earlier this year…. we are treating like an acquisition but this is step one.”

Tanna added that the company plans to focus on five markets in Southeast Asia, and an expansion to Vietnam may be in the pipeline soon.

Piping Ain’t Easy! 5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Hiring A Local Plumber

Whether it’s a residential or commercial set up, plumbing emergencies can happen anytime and without any warning.

The plumbing maintenance in homes and offices is unique in that most people don’t see it as something truly dangerous or important. When a pipe bursts or some other piece of plumbing malfunctions, many homeowners try to fix the plumbing issue by themselves.

Why You Need A Plumber

What people often fail to realize is that tackling plumbing problems requires the right knowledge and skill. Not only will the issue be harder to fix if left unaddressed, the problem could cost a fortune. Besides, leaks and drips can turn into major headaches and that’s why you need a good plumber.

Professional local plumbers have the skills, expertise, and needed equipment to properly repair any plumbing problems. They can also identify problems that require your utmost attention right away.

With that said, hiring a local plumber may sound easy but it’s actually more complicated. Considering the fact that there are a plethora of plumbing companies flooding the market today, you need to be extra careful.

If you have to hire one in a pinch, oftentimes they are not as savvy as expected. To make sure you end up with the best one, here are some really great tips for hiring a plumber.

Experience is key

plumbing

Experience in any type of craft is a vital tool that an individual and business should possess and plumbing is no exception. Besides, there are obvious benefits to hiring a professional who has been in the plumbing industry for long. Not only have they handled different plumbing jobs, but they also have been able to come across different challenges and problems to solve.

By hiring an experienced plumber, you can rest assured that the work will be done with utmost perfection and care.

Check credentials

While there is a slew of plumbing companies, most of them operate without all the necessary credentials. The sheer fact that a plumber is not licensed says a lot about his professionalism.

Unlicensed plumbers are not accountable to regulators. Most of the time, they are not available whenever things go amiss.

Needless to say, make sure you check whether the plumber is licensed and insured before making the final decision. You can ask about this over the phone before you even make an appointment. If the plumber or his representative on the phone can’t provide the master plumbing license number quickly and easily, that’s your cue to move on.

Don’t break the bank

Plumbing repairs and replacement can get expensive. Make sure you have a written estimate in hand before any work begins. Furthermore, professional plumbers are able to carry out a quick survey of the job and tell how much equipment, manpower and time is needed for completing a particular task. From this survey, they are then able to provide a breakdown for what you’ll be charged.

Be sure to ask if the total at the bottom of your estimate bill is all that you will need to pay. Take it as a chance to clarify if there will be no extra charges to the service. In addition to this, check the warranty being offered by different plumbers so that you can make the right choice.

Word of mouth

It goes without saying that no marketing strategy is as powerful or as influential as word of mouth. From online searches to a quick conversation with your family and friends, you’ll be able to get an honest opinion as to who you should hire.

In addition, make sure you visit the plumbing company’s website and go through their past customers’ reviews and testimonials. As with any review and testimonial, the odds of someone taking the time to write a positive review is a lot slimmer than a competitor or a vindictive customer posting a negative review. Besides, you will almost always find occasional negative reviews and testimonials about most companies. Just beware if you find too many of them!

Ask for references

local plumber

When it comes to hiring a local plumber, make sure you ask for references. Better yet, wait to see if they offer up the information first. Generally, any reputable plumbing company will have a list of happy customers and the jobs they have done.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the plumbing system in your home or office is incredibly essential to your health and safety. This is why it needs to be properly maintained.

Any plumbing work, no matter how big or small, should always take priority. This is because even the most ordinary job can quickly become a major and very expensive project if not attended right away.

Whether it’s a leaking pipe or dripping faucet repair, make sure you use the tips above when hiring a plumber.

The post Piping Ain’t Easy! 5 Things To Keep In Mind Before Hiring A Local Plumber appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The largest dinosaur foot ever belongs to ‘Bigfoot’

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The largest dinosaur foot ever found, belonging to one of the largest land animals this planet’s ever seen, surely deserves the title “Bigfoot” more than Sasquatch.

Excavated in 1998 by an expedition from the University of Kansas, and described in a new study published in PeerJ – the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences, “Bigfoot” was discovered in the Black Hills area of Wyoming. Scientists determined the dinosaur — a very close relative of Brachiosaurus — had the biggest feet of any sauropod, and roamed the area 150 million years ago. 

Crew member Anthony Maltese, who is also the lead author of the study, writes that the foot was nearly 1 meter wide. It didn’t belong to the largest dinosaur ever discovered, the study said, but “Bigfoot” did have particularly large feet. Read more…

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Segway’s whacky new roller shoes will cost $399

Did you know Segway is making a pair of self-balancing roller shoes? It is! The company has been tinkering with all sorts of new form factors since it was acquired by Ninebot in 2015, from half-sized Segways to kick scooters. Next up: inline… shoe… platform things.

Called the Segway Drift W1s, they sorta look like what would happen if you took a hoverboard (as in the trendy 2016 hoverboard-that-doesn’t-actually-hover “hover”board, not Marty McFly’s hoverboard), split it in two and plopped one half under each foot.

It released a video demonstrating the shoes a few weeks back. Just watching it makes me feel like I’ve bruised my tailbone, because I’m clumsy as hell.

Pricing and availability was kept under wraps at the time, but the company has just released the details: a pair will cost you $399, and ship sometime in August. Oh, and they’ll come with a free helmet, because you’ll probably want to wear a helmet.

A new product page also sheds some light on a few other previously undisclosed details: each unit will weigh about 7.7lbs, and top out at 7.5 miles per hour. Riding time “depends on riding style and terrain,” but the company estimates about 45 minutes of riding per charge.

I look forward to trying these — then realizing I have absolutely no idea how to jump off and just riding forever into the sunset.

How to Write The Perfect Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel

Bringing in new customers and converting them can sometimes be challenging. With so many brands and products on the market, differentiating from the competition is near impossible. However, the AIDA sales funnel methodology can contribute to the cause more than you think.

Implementing the time-old sales model into the content creation strategy set by the marketing team will ensure organic growth and sales outreach more than most methods would. With that said, let’s take a look at how we can use AIDA to separate our content marketing funnel strategy from the rest.

Basics of AIDA

In short, AIDA stands for “Attraction, Interest, Desire, and Action.” These are the cornerstones of your typical sales funnel in which certain content is distributed to the market at even intervals. As the name suggests, AIDA stages aim to gradually introduce a product or a brand to the market. It raises awareness of it before promoting a direct purchase.

This methodology alone is what separates AIDA from typical content strategies that rely on scheduling and audience profiling. AIDA can effectively lead individual users from a passerby to a loyal customer if the content reflects the aim to gradually convert someone into a recurring customer.

Now that we have a clearer understanding of what AIDA represents, let’s take a look at how we can implement it into our existing content creation strategies.

  • Brand Awareness

brand awareness

The first stage of content marketing through AIDA aims to collect customer information for future reference. This means that every marketing campaign should start with content designed to achieve outreach and interaction.

The more emails, phone numbers and contact information you collect, the more successful your first stage of AIDA will be. The content created for this purpose usually comes in the form of email marketing and calls to action. These factors ask the readers for some upfront trust and patience. Products and services should not be promoted in this stage but only hinted at. We are aiming to raise awareness of our presence on the market and not sell anything outright.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

  • Product Interest

Creating interest in your products might just be the toughest stage of AIDA. You need to ensure that people are interested and curious about your products to a point where they will want to know more about it.

You can achieve this by creating demonstration video content, write testimonials or product reviews through influencers. Also, you can employ some of the largest translation companies on the market. They can translate your content into other languages for international marketing purposes.

In other words, the Interest phase of your sales funnel focuses on building hype and anticipation for a product that the customers absolutely need to possess. This mindset is what you should aim for when creating content for the second stage of the sales funnel.

  • Purchase Desire

If you played your cards right, your future customers should be knocking at your door by now with questions about your products. However, there is one more stage of the sales funnels to focus on before creating direct sales marketing content.

Your customers’ desire to buy, use and promote your products and services is the true indicator of successful marketing. You should focus on creating a need and a desire to purchase your brand’s products through calls to action that offer discounts, loyalty benefits, extra goodies for early adopters, etc. Desire can also be raised by emphasizing the benefits of using your products in the household environment, during family activities, friendly hangouts, etc.

Add as much value, examples and advantages to your product as possible while still maintaining the aura of professionalism. The more value you add to your product, the better it will sell on the market once your launch window approaches.

See Also: 12 Tips That Build Customer Loyalty And Boost Sales

  • Customer Action

customer action

Your customers’ action or the purchase of your product should be the final stage of your sales funnel. If all previous stages were done correctly, Action bookends the campaign and brings a few final customers before the purchase window opens officially.

Content that focuses on action should include calls-to-action that emphasize direct purchase. You can include how-to guides, examples of use, tips for product enjoyment and other customer-centric content in your final sales funnel stage.

The interest and performance of your product peaks with Action and gradually drops over time. It’s important to monetize the buzz created around your brand before the customers’ interest shifts to some other marketing campaign.

A Step-by-Step Approach (Conclusion)

Implementing AIDA or any other sales funnel method might seem like an overcomplicated risk. Every stage of a sales funnel needs to be as effective and impactful as the one that came before. While that may be true, AIDA provides the perfect model for filtering and segmenting our customer base.

This is especially useful with expensive and niche products that simply don’t work for every customer. Use your best judgment when implementing AIDA into your content strategy. Don’t be afraid to segment your own marketing campaign into separate steps.

The post How to Write The Perfect Content for Each Stage of Your Sales Funnel appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Jimmy Fallon and Tom Cruise hardly make it through this spy movie scene without losing it

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Jimmy Fallon and Tom Cruise have done their fair share of silly skits on The Tonight Show over the years. And their newly made-up Mission: Impossible scene is just as harebrained.

In a segment on Monday night’s show, Fallon and Cruise acted out a dramatic spy movie scene they’d written together playing the “Mad Lib” game. Adhering to the segment rules, Cruise answers Fallon’s random questions, and then the two use them as dialogue in a made-up movie scene.

Cruise’s answers are quite bizarre — his response to a hypothetical spider crawling up his leg was a cool “come here, darling,” — so make for a pretty strange scene. But it’s worth watching just for the pair to try and keep a straight face during their fictional train ride. Read more…

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