Month: September 2019

Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about

Waking up in the morning to work out while the rest of the world is sleeping takes a lot of effort. Sleeping is one of the most satisfying human activities, so it’s understandable if you want to snuggle under the sheets instead of working out.

Most people actually prefer working out in the evening. However, after a long day at work, you might not have the energy for an impactful workout session.

So why would you rather workout in the morning and not in the evening? Well, there is scientific proof that working out in the morning is far much better than doing the same at the end of the day.

Begin the Day Feeling Upbeat

Managing to get out of bed and completing your workout session ensures you begin the day feeling upbeat. Waking up in the morning is challenging, and overcoming it gives you the motivation you need for the rest of the day.

Working out your joints and muscles ensure that you have an active day. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have a lazy day after your morning workout. Morning workouts make you feel unstoppable and accomplished.

When you work out, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine which is also known as the happy hormone. Is there a better way to start the day than to fire up your system with a happy hormone? You’re bound to have a positive attitude and have an easy time interacting with people.

Morning Workouts Boost Your Quality of Sleep

benefits of morning exercises

Every person requires quality sleeping time to rest their body and rejuvenate. Working out in the morning guarantees that you won’t struggle to find sleep at night.

When your brain gets the rest it requires, your memory improves, and you get better at retaining information. Who doesn’t want a sharp memory and improved body function?

See Also: A Good Night’s Sleep: The Key to a Happy Life

You End Up Consuming Fewer Calories

Mastering the willpower to get up every morning translates to other aspects of your life. Individuals who are resolute to work out each morning have an easy time, fighting cravings throughout the day. That means that you’ll end up consuming fewer calories as well.

It’s very unlikely for anyone to head for their favorite food joint after working out in the morning. Now imagine another person who prefers working out in the evening. They can easily eat junk food throughout the day with the consolation that they’ll burn those calories in the evening.

A 2012 study carried out by Brigham Young University supports this logic. The findings show that working out in the morning helps individuals fight cravings.

You’ll Get Better at Coping with Stress

benefit of morning exercise

Working out in the morning is known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is because intense workout sessions ensure you begin the day feeling relaxed and refreshed. This way, nothing will hardly agitate you throughout the day.

Exercising ensures that you sweat it all out so that you begin the day with a clear mind. Besides, nothing beats the peace that comes with having time to process your thoughts uninterrupted.

Improve Your Metabolism

Your body is likely to burn more calories after you work out. Exercising in the morning ensures you have fast metabolism throughout the day. You’ll be able to burn calories even when you’re seated at your work station.

Pumping up your metabolism before you eat anything ensures that you stay in shape. The faster the metabolism, the more energy you have to go through the day. A slow metabolism can be risky because the food you eat gets stored as fat. This is how people gain weight and get out of shape.

See Also: Interesting Facts About the Human Body You Might Not Know About

Final Thought

As you can see, the benefits of morning workouts are unlimited. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed and get your daily exercise.

The post Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

New ‘The King’s Man’ full trailer has more jokes, more knife-fighting, and more Black Sabbath

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Unlike the super serious teaser, the full trailer for The King’s Man wants you to know that this is still a comedy, OK? 

The origin-story prequel for the Kingsman series — they’ve split the original film’s name into two separate words, just so it’s not confusing! — gives fans a better peek at Rhys Ifans (aka Spike from Notting Hill) as Rasputin, as Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton and Djimon Hounsou fight “tyrants and criminal masterminds” in the midst of World War I. The trailer also boasts a snarling soundtrack thanks to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Fiennes trying to convince his team to try this newfangled thing called a parachute. Read more…

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Kickstarter darling EcoFlow Delta battery generator is not what it seems

The Delta EcoFlow is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible claimed features. Most are true, some are not.

Device like the Delta offer incredible battery storage capacity. Designed for more than just recharging phones and tablets, these can run refrigerators, pumps, power tools and medical equipment. They’re great for emergencies, camping and general use where power is not available. Similar devices have been on the market for some years so I was eager to verify EcoFlow’s claims.

The EcoFlow Delta can recharge from a wall outlet to 80% in an hour. It’s amazing. The GoalZero Yeti battery of a similar size takes 25 hours. This capability means the Delta can be used and then reused more than competitors.

The device is currently on Kickstarter where it quickly acquired over $2 million from over 2,000 backers. The device’s features listed on the Kickstarter page are clear, but after testing a pre-production unit, I found several of these advertised capabilities and features misleading or false.

The Delta is the latest product from EcoFlow. The company’s founder, Eli Harris, says it’s “The world’s strongest battery generator.” I found the Delta to be a competent battery generator with similar capabilities to competitors but it’s hampered by loud fans.

In short, if you need a battery generator that can recharge much faster than others, the Delta is a great option. Otherwise, the GoalZero Yeti makes more sense for most people.

Battery generators are a safe and more portable option than their gas counterparts. There are no harmful fumes or fuel allowing them to be used indoors, nearer the appliances or tools. Most often (though not with the Delta) they’re silent, too, making them perfect for a camping or hunting companion.

In real-world operation, this quick recharge time could come in handy. Say, on a construction site or in an emergency incident where power is still available, but out of reach of an extension cord — situations where loud gas generators are generally used. While the Delta is louder than other battery generators, it is not as loud as a gas generator.

The Delta battery comes packaged with a warning that the battery must be fully charged before use. I generally ignore warnings, but I followed this one and immediately plugged it in. Instantly, fans whirled to life and the screen popped on displaying the current charge levels and how long it would take to get to 100%. The Delta was at 30% and would take 45 minutes to fully recharge. It worked as advertised and 45 minutes later the battery was at 100%.

Recharging the Delta battery was a noisy affair. The fans are loud and continue to run after the battery is fully charged. Compared to a GoalZero Yeti, this was a shock. The Yeti is silent where the Delta is not. I keep a Yeti 1400 in my basement, plugged in and ready to use. But with the Delta, even when the battery is fully charged, loud fans still run presumably to keep the unit cool. EcoFlow says the shelf life on the Delta is over a year where the GoalZero Yeti is six months. To me, I would rather have the battery constantly plugged into power so I know it’s ready to go when needed.

The Delta recharges without an AC power inverter (a power brick); it uses the same sort of cable as a desktop PC. The company says by passing through the inverter directly, the Delta can increase charging speed to more than 10 times the traditional AC to DC adapter cable. This also means it’s easier to replace a lost charging cable.

The Delta is much lighter than competing products and its design makes it easier to move. EcoFlow says it’s rugged, and it feels the part. Even my pre-production sample feels tough and ready to go to work. Large rubber pads keep the battery in place and the tough plastic feels more durable than competing products.

There are a handful of plugs and outlets around the device, including USB, USB-C and six AC outlets. It’s a lot and similar in capacity to large gas generators. Most battery generators have much fewer AC outlets, though I’ve often supplemented the capability with small power strips.

IMG 0544
Kickstarter Beware

The Delta is currently on Kickstarter for pre-order and exceeded its goal. I fear a good amount of backers will be upset to learn several notable advertised features are false or misleading.

The Delta is not silent. Under operation, either recharging a cell phone or running a power tool, loud fans run on both sides of the battery. These fans run when recharging the battery, too — even when the battery is fully charged. The Kickstarter page and video lists throughout that the Delta produces no noise.

ecoflow delta

These fans detract from the appeal of the Delta battery. They’re loud. You have to raise your voice to speak over them. Because of these fans, I wouldn’t take the Delta camping or use it in the backyard for a quiet get-together. During power outage situations, I wouldn’t want to sleep near it. But I would use it for power tools — like EcoFlow does in one of its demo videos.

Only one of the four videos on the Kickstarter page allows potential owners to hear the Delta battery. The third video on the page shows the battery powering a hammer drill. Six seconds into the video, the drill stops running, and the battery’s fans are audible.

There are a handful of competing batteries that operate without noisy fans. I’ve taken GoalZero’s Yeti batteries camping and they’re great despite their heft. They’re truly silent and can still recharge from solar panels and car batteries. I’ve used battery generators from Jackery, too, and those are also silent.

I spoke with Ecoflow CEO and Founder Eli Harris during the run-up of this review. He was clear that Ecoflow’s main competitor is not other large batteries, but rather small gas generators available from Honda and others. And that makes a lot of sense. Those are the best selling generators available and widely used for emergency and convenience. These small generators are loud, and the Ecoflow Delta is quieter than those options while still offering most of the power capabilities.

When asked why the Kickstarter page is misleading, he said “that fallacy has never been called out” and he would check with his team about the use of “superlatives and blanket statements.” Three days later, the Kickstarter page still lists the false claims.

EcoFlow claims the Delta battery can run a variety of power tools, including drills, circular saws, power washers and welders. I found this capability hit or miss. Despite some tools being under the claimed amperage and wattage of the Delta battery, the battery wouldn’t power my small or large circular saw or power washer. EcoFlow also claims the battery can recharge a Tesla; it doesn’t recharge my Chevy Volt.

Many tools require extra power when starting up, and I found most of these surge requirements to exceed the capabilities of the Delta battery. This is the same with other batteries like the GoalZero Yeti. In fact, I couldn’t find one tool in my workshop that the Delta powered and the Yeti did not; they worked the same for me, and I have a lot of tools.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. The EcoFlow Delta has impressive capabilities mainly around its recharge capabilities. This makes it an attractive option for the right use. It’s compact and solid. It has a lot of outlets and is easy to move. This could be a lifesaver in emergency situations where a person still has access to power.

The Delta has some downsides just like other battery generators. It doesn’t offer a dramatic increase in electrical output over competitors so don’t expect this battery to power larger devices. Don’t expect a silent operation, either. This massive battery is loud though, I admit, that’s a relative term. It’s louder than other battery generators but less loud than a gas generator.

I would rather have a silent battery generator that recharges slowly versus a noisy, fast-recharging battery. I use my battery generators camping and around the house when the power goes out. The Delta makes sense on a construction site or when providing power is priority. I just can’t get over the loud fans.

Elon Musk says Starship should reach orbit within six months – and could even fly with a crew next year

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk delivered an update about Starship, the company’s nest generation spacecraft, which is being designed for full, “rapid reusability.” Musk discussed the technology behind the design of Starship, which has evolved somewhat through testing and development after its original introduction in 2017.

Among the updates detailed, Musk articulated how Starship will be used to make humans interplanetary, including its use of in-space refilling of propellant, by docking with tanker Starships already in orbit to transfer fuel. This is necessary for the spacecraft to get enough propellant on board post-launch to make the trip to the Moon or Mars from Earth – especially since it’ll be carrying as much as 100 tons of cargo on board to deliver to these other space-based bodies.

Elon Musk

These will include supplies for building bases on planetary surfaces, as well as up to 100 passengers on long-haul planet-to-planet flights.

Those are still very long-term goals, however, and Musk also went into detail about development of the current generation of Starship prototypes, as well as the planned future Starships that will go to orbit, and carry their first passengers.

The Starship Mk1, Mk2 and the forthcoming Mk3 and Mk4 orbital testers will all feature a fin design that will orient the vehicles so they can re-enter Earth’s atmosphere flat on their ‘bellies,’ coming in horizontal to increase drag and reduce velocity before performing a sort of flip maneuver to swing past vertical and then pendulum back to vertical for touch-down. In simulation, as shown at the event, it looks like it’ll be incredible to watch, since it looks more unwieldy than the current landing process for Falcon boosters, even if it’s still just as controlled.

SpaceX Starship Mk1 29

The front fins on the Starship prototype will help orient it for re-entry, a key component of reuse.

Musk also shared a look at the design planned for Super Heavy, the booster that will be used to propel Starship to orbit. This liquid-oxygen powered rocket, which is about 1.5 times the height of the Starship itself, will have 37 Raptor engines on board (the Starship will have only six) and will also feature six landing legs and deployable grid fins for its own return trip back to Earth.

In terms of testing and development timelines, Musk said that the Starship Mk1 he presented the plan in front of at Boca Chica should have its first test flight in just one to two months. That will be a flight to a sub-orbital altitude of just under 70,000 feet. The prototype spacecraft is already equipped with the three Raptor engines it will use for that flight.

Next, Starship Mk2, which is currently being built in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at another SpaceX facility, will attempt a similar high altitude test. Musk explained that both these families will continue to compete with each other internally and build Starship prototypes and rockets simultaneously. Mk3 will begin construction at Boca Chica beginning next month, and Mk4 will follow in Florida soon after. Musk said that the next Starship test flight after the sub-orbital trip for Mk1 might be an orbital launch with the full Super Heavy booster and Mk3.

Elon Musk 1

Musk said that SpaceX will be “building both ships and boosters here [at Boca Chica] and a the Cape as fast as we can,” and that they’ve already been improving both the design and the manufacture of the sections for the spacecraft “exponentially” as a result of the competition.

The Mk1 features welded panels to make up the rings you can see in the detail photograph of the prototype below, for instance, but Mk3 and Mk4 will use full sheets of stainless steel that cover the whole diameter of the spacecraft, welded with a single weld. There was one such ring on site at the event, which indicates SpaceX is already well on its way to making this work.

This rapid prototyping will enable SpaceX to build and fly Mk2 in two months, Mk3 in three months, Mk4 in four months and so on. Musk added that either Mk3 or Mk5 will be that orbital test, and that they want to be able to get that done in less than six months. He added that eventually, crewed missions aboard Starship will take place from both Boca Chica and the Cape, and that the facilities will be focused only on producing Starships until Mk4 is complete, at which point they’ll begin developing the Super Heavy booster.

Starship Mk1 night

In total, Musk said that SpaceX will need 100 of its Raptor rocket engines between now and its first orbital flight. At its current pace, he said, SpaceX is producing one every eight days – but they should increase that output to one every two days within a few months, and are targeting production of one per day for early in Q1 2019.

Because of their aggressive construction and testing cycle, and because, Musk said, the intent is to achieve rapid reusability to the point where you could “fly the booster 20 times a day” and “fly the [starship] three or four times a day,” the company should theoretically be able to prove viability very quickly. Musk said he’s optimistic that they could be flying people on test flights of Starship as early as next year as a result.

Part of its rapid reusability comes from the heat shield design that SpaceX has devised for Starship, which includes a stainless steel finish on one half of the spacecraft, with ceramic tiles used on the bottom where the heat is most intense during re-entry. Musk said that both of these are highly resistant to the stresses of reentry and conducive to frequent reuse, without incurring tremendous cost – unlike their initial concept, which used carbon fibre in place of stainless steel.

Musk is known for suggesting timelines that don’t quite match up with reality, but Starship’s early tests haven’t been so far behind his predictions thus far.

Tesla owners immediately tested the new Smart Summon in parking lots

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Tesla released its latest software update, V10, on Thursday, and amongst the new games, streaming services (Spotify at last!), and Joe Mode, came an autonomous driving update.

Customers who have a Full Self-Driving capable car or Enhanced Autopilot package already had a Summon feature through the Tesla mobile app. Now they have Smart Summon. And everyone is trying it out. 

Smart Summon goes beyond its predecessor’s simple ability to remotely move the car forward and backward while outside the vehicle. Now you can set the car to navigate a parking lot and come to you — but only if the car is within your line of sight.  Read more…

More about Tesla, Elon Musk, Summon, Autonomous Vehicles, and Tech

Tesla, Elon Musk violated labor laws, judge rules

Tesla broke national labor laws when it unfairly prevented workers from unionizing, an administrative law judge in California ruled Friday.

The ruling, which will likely be appealed, was first reported by Bloomberg. Tesla has not responded to a request for comment. TechCrunch will update the article if Tesla responds.

The automaker and CEO Elon Musk were ordered by Judge Amita Baman Tracy to take several actions to remedy the violations, including reinstating and giving backpay to a fired pro-union employee. The judge also ordered Musk to hold a public meeting and read aloud the findings to employees at the factory informing them the NLRB concluded the company had broken the law.

From the ruling:

I recommend that Respondent be ordered to convene its employees and have Elon Musk (or, if he is no longer the chief executive officer, a high-ranking management official), in the presence security guards, managers and supervisors, a Board agent and an agent 15 of the Union, if the Region and/or the Union so desire, read the notice aloud to employees, or, at Respondent’s option, permit a Board agent, in the presence Musk, to read the notice to the employees at the Fremont facility only.

The NLRB, while able to determine Tesla violated the law, has a limited reach, Bloomberg noted. The NLRB, for instance, can’t hold executive personally liable, nor can it assess punitive damages.

The ruling, which was published Friday, found that Musk and Tesla had violated the National Labor Relations Act by repressing attempts to organize a union at the company’s Fremont. Calif., factory. The judge determined that Tesla violated labor laws when it created rules that prevented off-duty employees from distributing union organizing leaflets in the Fremont parking lot, fired two workers unfairly and interrogated employees about their union activities. The judge also determined that Musk’s own tweets violated the law when he implied that workers who unionized would have to give up company-paid stock options.

Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 21, 2018

 

Black-market weed vape company linked to lung crisis is verified on Instagram

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Dank Vapes, a brand of black-market THC vaporizer cartridges whose products have been linked to the outbreak of vaping-related lung diseases, has an official verified account on Instagram — despite the fact that it may not even be a real company.

The brand claims “nothing is for sale” in its Instagram bio. However, users can buy products with flavor names like “cotton candy” and “banana split” through third-party distributors advertising their services in the comments of Dank Vape’s verified Instagram posts. 

Black-market weed vape company linked to lung crisis is verified on Instagram

Image: screenshot via instagram

According to a report the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday, a number of patients affected by the vape-related lung diseases reported they used cartridges from Dank Vapes.  Read more…

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Starting Life After Divorce: How to Make the Process Easier

Getting a divorce is not the end of your life. In fact, the process gives you more things to explore, and this article will show you how to reinvent yourself for a new life.

Starting Life After Divorce

When a marriage ends, it leaves people feeling like they failed at something. That feeling, when left unchecked, festers, resulting in a lot of negative emotions that would prevent you from finding out what more life has for you.

Thus, rather than dwell on what went wrong and the life you once had, channeling your energy into finding your new “normal” would help you let go of the past and forge ahead in life.

Divorce does not have to be the end of everything good in your life; In fact, it can be the start of something new.

Here are some tips to help you in starting life after divorce:

Purge Yourself of Negative Emotions

This saying might be a cliché, but a very effective one. In the words of Robert Alberti, Ph.D., and the co-author of Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, “It is common to sweep [your] emotions under the table, but you have to work through them, or they’ll pollute your life forever.”

Thus, let yourself feel all the negative emotions that come with being on your own again. Purge yourself of the feelings of shame, inferiority, the failure that comes with having a failed marriage, and chin up to start your life anew.

See Also: How to Heal From Divorce Through Writing

Take a Moment and Clear Your Thoughts

life after divorce

After ridding yourself of negative emotions, you need to clear and organize your thoughts. One thing that divorce brings to your life is clarity. It helps you get to this “Aha!” moment where the rest of your life flashes before you.

Clarity would help you let go of past regrets and bitterness. You’ll go from feeling like you are never going to get through the pain to a place of inner peace where you are convinced that the pain won’t last forever.

Discover and Rediscover

Another silver lining that divorce brings is the opportunity to discover new things about yourself. You get to rediscover the things you gave up during your marriage.

Getting married and staying that way for years takes a lot of sacrifices. Its end means that you get to either go back to the person you used to be or reinvent into something better.

If the bravest thing you did before is to go over the speed limit, then you might want to go hiking or skydiving. It does not have to be extreme. The vital thing is knowing that you can do whatever you want, as long as it is safe, legal, and within your budget.

Have Social Contacts and Transitional Dates

single life after divorce

Being alone is scary for a lot of people after being with someone for a long time, but it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully, we live in a world where social media thrives. Meeting new people won’t be much of a hassle.

Often, married people keep the same circle of friend. After a divorce, things tend to get awkward, especially if the separation was messy. So, use your newly single status to meet new people, especially those you’ve always admired but couldn’t be friends with because your spouse did not approve.

Also, divorce means you get to date again. However, rather than do the rebound thing, go the transitional way. Transitional dating means going out for the fun of it.

It involves trying to date people outside your comfort zone.

See Also: 24 Ways to Find a Date Offline

Own Your Life and Find Your Inner Strength

People are often stronger than they give themselves credit for, and there’s no better way to find your inner strength than to lose something you thought would last forever.

Discovering your inner strength would help you own your life by taking charge. So, if you used to rely on your partner for most of the things, now, you get to do those things yourself and learn in the process. You might make mistakes, but since you survived divorce, you’ll dust yourself up and try again until you get it right.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, a divorce is not the end of life and starting life after divorce doesn’t have to be so hard.

There are vast opportunities to explore as a single person. All you have to do is accept that what’s lost cannot be gotten back. Your life is no longer tied to one person and starting new is up to you.

The post Starting Life After Divorce: How to Make the Process Easier appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

One day left to get featured at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin’s Startup Battlefield

Founders. The clock is ticking. Applications for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2019 are closing in just about 24 hours.

On December 11-12, TechCrunch will feature the top early-stage startups from around the world in the most renowned on-stage pitch competition in the world – Startup Battlefield. Companies are battling for $50,000 in equity-free prize money, the infamous Disrupt Cup and the attention of press and investors from around the world.

You’ll join the leave of highly successful Startup Battlefield Alumni, including N26, JukeDeck, Dropbox, GetAround, Mint.com, and more. All together, the 857 companies that have launched with Startup Battlefield have raised over $8.9 billion in funding, with 113 successful exits (IPOs and acquisitions).

It’s simply. Startups from any part of the world and any industry can apply. Companies must be early stage, pre-major publicity and have a minimally viable product to demo live on stage. TechCrunch editors review the applications and select the top 3-5% of companies that apply – more competitive than college!

After being selected, founders will go through a mini-accelerator with the Startup Battlefield team, where we will train you on your pitch, go-to-market strategy, on stage talent and set you up for the biggest, most public launch on the largest tech stage in the world. Teams pitch for 6 minutes including a live demo, followed by a 6 min Q&A with our esteemed judges – VCs, angels and heads of major companies.

If you make it to the final round, you simply pitch on stage again with the same pitch in front of a brand new set of judges. These judges debate and decide the final winner of the competition and the startup that gets to bring home $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup.

Participating in Startup Battlefield gets you a whole suite of perks. We’re talking free exhibition space in Startup Alley for both days of Disrupt, invitations to private events, backstage access, CrunchMatch — our free business-matching platform — free subscriptions to Extra Crunch and a ticket to all future TechCrunch events. That’s some major value right there.

There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Stop procrastinating apply to Startup Battlefield today. We want to see you in Berlin!

4chan trolling turned the OK sign into a symbol of hate

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This is why we can’t have OK things. 

The Anti-Defamation League has added the hand gesture for “OK” to its database of hate symbols, after sites like 4chan and 8chan began associating it with white supremacy. 

It started out as a trolling tactic by the far right to discredit progressive figures and get a rise out of social media users, but has recently been used by actual white supremacists.

Know Your Meme reports that while the symbol’s origins are innocuous, it’s developed a double meaning over the last four years. In 2015, Viner Pizza Party Ben made a vine of himself making that gesture and captioned it: “White guys be like.” During the 2016 presidential election, he and far-right furry Milo Yiannopolous were spotted making the OK symbol at Trump rallies. Other conservative internet personalities began making the gesture in support of Donald Trump.  Read more…

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Why You Should Ignore Your Horoscope

Do you read horoscopes? If so, you could be wasting not just your time but your precious brain cells, too. Come on, do you really believe that half a billion people in the world are going to have the same day/week/month?

Your horoscope isn’t exactly personalized. It applies to a twelfth of the world’s population. Horoscope writers use a lot of tricks to make you believe what they’ve said.

Here are some of the most common ones:

We Believe A Personality Analysis – Even If It Doesn’t Really Apply To Us

A famous experiment was carried out in 1948 by the psychologist Bertram R. Forer. He gave his students a personality test and gave them the exact same “results” which he’d assembled from horoscopes:

“You have a need for other people to like and admire you, and yet you tend to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses you are generally able to compensate for them. You have considerable unused capacity that you have not turned to your advantage. Disciplined and self-controlled on the outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure on the inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You also pride yourself as an independent thinker; and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. But you have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be rather unrealistic.”

The students were asked to rate the personality profile’s accuracy from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most accurate rating. Guess what?

The average rating was 4.26- despite the fact that every single student had received exactly the same rating. This has been dubbed the Forer effect and it’s been borne out by study after study ever since 1948.

So, if you have one of those key rings that tells you your personality based on your star sign or name, ignore it.

We Give Too Much Importance To Co-incidences

happy go lucky

You might be reading this and thinking “but, my horoscope has come true on several occasions!”

Well, I’m afraid that’s just an example of subjective validation. It means that you pick up on co-incidences and assign them an incorrect meaning. This particularly happens when it’s something that has personal meaning to you or when you want it to be more than a co-incidence.

Think of it this way:

Have you ever had that experience when the phone rings, you think “It’ll be John” and it is? Spooky, huh? But what about all the times when you think “It’ll be John” but it wasn’t?

You probably forgot all about those.

Horoscopes Use Vague Statements and Generalizations

Here are a few statements taken from typical horoscopes-all from the Daily Mail newspaper:

  • There will be ups and downs financially with nothing going quite to plan.
  • But if you can give yourself space to ponder, you may be able to answer one or two questions which have been bothering you recently. Nothing superficial will really help so you will need to focus and get right down to the nitty gritty.
  • You won’t suffer fools or slow coaches gladly and will express yourself firmly but forcefully at times. Just don’t go a step too far since you may want support when you get into a muddle towards mid month.

Notice anything in common?

These statements could apply to anyone:

Aren’t everyone’s finances up and down, especially during current times?

DLM readers probably know that getting to the heart of tricky questions in life involves focusing and pondering, not just looking for a quick fix. This is good advice, but why on earth would it only apply to one particular star sign?

Do any of us suffer fools and slow coaches gladly? And don’t we all get into a muddle on a regular basis? “Towards mid month” is vague enough to cover at least a ten or twelve day period, too.

The Big Reason You Shouldn’t Place Your Trust In Horoscopes

 

Even if you’re a horo-sceptic like me, imagine for a moment that you do believe every word of a horoscope or personality profile. You could end up hugely limiting yourself because of it.

For example, if your horoscope warns of money problems ahead, you might get anxious or even use it as an excuse to spend unnecessarily, thinking that hard times are inevitable.

One of the horoscopes I looked at included the line: “You’ll occupy yourself happily spending money on all manner of frivolities since you reckon you need pampering.”

Now, how many of us have the self-discipline not to use this as an excuse to think “Yes, my horoscope is right. I should buy that new CD/shirt/game even though I want to pay off my loans”.

You could be subconsciously sabotaging yourself because you believe in a nonsense personality profile.

Perhaps, you think you’re an impetuous and sometimes angry person, because of your star sign. This is preventing you from dealing with your hot-headed nature (which might be half-imagined anyway). Or maybe you think that you’re shy, because your star sign’s always told you so and you’ve never made an effort to overcome this.

None of us are “stuck” with our foibles. We can all improve ourselves, break bad habits, and establish good ones. Instead of reading horoscopes, find some truly worthwhile reading (Dumb Little Man is a great place to start – and the blogs linked to in the Blender) that can actually help you improve your life.

What do you think about horoscopes? Whether you agree with me completely or think I’m an idiot, let me know your views in the comments!

See Also: How to Control Your Luck

The post Why You Should Ignore Your Horoscope appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Will Ferrell, Maisie Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Mark Hamill, and more stars get burned and bleeped in a stinky Mean Tweets

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Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets is back, and there’s a lot going on here. Zendaya sniffs her shoe (and claps back perfectly to her hater). Mark Hamill busts out his Yoda impression. Kim K says “anus.” Sarah Paulson swears a LOT. Jake Gyllenhaal gets poetic. David Spade is also there (and might have the funniest tweet of the night). Enjoy, and never let the haters get you down. Read more…

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Vested, a newly minted startup, aims to tell startup employees precisely when to exercise their options

Research when to sell shares in a privately held company, and the results may have you laughing — not because they’re funny but they’re because there’s an almost comical amount of information available out there. From blog posts to advertisements to advertorials to calculators, the data is overwhelming to the point of being useless.

It’s a problem that Matt Venables and Tom Hennessy — both former execs at the peer-to-peer payments company Circle —  experienced first-hand across numerous startup jobs. The more they looked to understand what their equity was worth and how to sell it without making a massive financial misstep, the more frustrated they felt.

Enter Vested, their three-month-old, Boston-based startup, one that is already backed already with $1.2 million from UnderscoreVC and Boston Seed Capital, and which — if they’re exceedingly lucky — will become the first stop for many thousands of startup employees who are in the same boat that the two once were.

What these individuals will find, promises Vested: access to secondary outfits that offer employees liquidity and to loan providers, but as crucially, they say, plainly explained information around taxes, along with competitive data about different industries and other recent stock sale information. More specifically, Vested will make available on its platform a lot of data that’s right now tricky to find but that VCs and data analysts tend to use, including public records filings, salary information, and 409a valuations.

Hennessey explains the pitch this way: “Matt and I have both some sold shares on the secondary market, and the process was non-transparent and not a fair process. But we realized the problem is much bigger than that — that the bigger issue is really around private equity compensation. The misunderstanding starts from day one. We’d love to capture employees before they ever sign an offer letter, then keep them along the way, so they understand at what points it makes sense to exercise their options and why.”

Ultimately, the goal is guide more employees to exercise responsibly and to convert option holders into shareholders, because the popular alternative, apparently, is for employees to do nothing at all. Says Venables, “Something like 80 percent of options are ever exercised. It’s abysmally low because people are confused, they wait too long, and [the rising value of their holdings] triggers the [alternative minimum tax]. A lot of people leave their jobs within a couple of years and they just decide it’s not worth the hassle.”

Of course, it’s very early days. Venables and Hennessey say they’ve already spoken to numerous secondary exchanges that want to work with Vested, which will serve as a kind of offer aggregator. To motivate the exchanges to put their best foot forward, Venables adds that, “In time, the most compelling offers will be surfaced first” to employees open to selling some of their holdings.

The same will go for lenders offering non-recourse loans to Vested visitors who want to exercise more options than they can afford at the moment, say the founders.

As for Vested’s business model, the idea is to receive a finder’s fee from both the exchanges and the lenders. The company also plans to offer a low-cost subscription product that goes above and beyond what an employee can find by by visiting Vested’s site. One idea is for them to receive push notifications when a buyer expresses interest in their company’s shares, though Venables and Hennessey say they’re  contemplating a host of other bells and whistles, too.

Step one, naturally, is to build up awareness around Vested, and then attract employees in search of better, clearer, more actionable information. In the meantime, the duo may need to watch out for the 600-pound elephant in their space — Carta, which helps private company investors, founders, and employees manage their equity and ownership and that raised a big round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year to build out a secondary marketplace.

What if Carta tries killing off Vested before it ever has a chance, we asked the founders on a call earlier this week.

Vested instead sees the two as complementary. Says Venables, “We’ve talked with Carta. Carta is building a structured secondary marketplace, one that’s really [catering to] employers. We’re building Vested 100 percent for employees.”

Pictured above from left to right: Vested cofounders Tom Hennessey and Matt Venables, along with their VP of Design, Nat Tarbox.

How to Prepare for An Office Move: Top Tips You Should Know

Moving premises is an issue that’s likely to come up for most business owners at some point. Although it can be stressful, it’s not something you need to be afraid of.

If you’re moving offices, this is normally something to celebrate. It’s a sign of growth, expansion, and being on a positive path. This is particularly true if you have to move offices to accommodate more staff and clients. An office move makes sense financially and logistically, too.

To help business owners who are experiencing an imminent move, WD Storage made this really helpful infographic on how and when to move offices smoothly. They’ve included some statistics you’ve probably never seen before and offer up some pearls of office relocation wisdom that you may not have considered previously.

There’s one serious downside to moving offices that can’t be ignored, and that’s the stress of it all. It’s likely to have a very detrimental effect on the workload and stress levels of pretty much everyone in the office. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this stress and make the move happy and prosperous for your business and staff.

When Should You Move Office?

office move

You may toy with the idea of moving offices at various points, but not actually explore it in detail. So, when do you give that idea a serious thought?

  • At the end of your lease
  • When you have available budget to cover all the costs
  • When your business is in a good financial situation
  • At the quietest time of the year for you
  • When you’re expecting to reach or go over your workplace capacity in the next five years

If you’re able to combine several or even all these elements into your moving plan, things will definitely be easier for you. If there are big projects or busy times on the horizon, it may not be the best time to move. Also, be confident that your business is financially sound enough to absorb the cost (the average UK cost of an office move is £40k!).

Don’t just include quoted costs in your planning. Have budget set aside for any unexpected costs, too.

How to Choose a New Office

Moving to a new office will require you to consider and make allowances for a lot of moving parts. The first thing you should do is communicate the plan with your staff as early and as comprehensively as possible. If people know about it early, they can get used to the idea of change and figure out whether they’re going to come along for the ride.

Another thing you have to consider is your current staff. Communicating with your team will give you some idea on areas where people won’t follow you. It will also help you to understand what your team wants from the new office.

Surveys have found that 45% of employees want green space at their place of work, even if it’s just to look at from their window. 40% felt like there weren’t enough informal ‘breakout’ areas in their office. 51% want a place where they can get away from their desk.

Ask your staff what they want from the new office. You will never, ever be able to please everybody. Some people won’t be happy with the move (generally a minority) but mostly, people will be excited for a change. It’s your job to make sure they’re excited about it. It’s also up to you to figure out what to prioritize.

When it comes to size, you should have around 95 square feet for each person. Think ahead about whether your office is future-proofed as well.

Can you see yourself employing more staff in the future? Will your new office have space to accommodate new hires/products/equipment?

Physical location is important, too. If your new office more than doubles everyone’s commute, for example, or is impossible to reach by public transport, you may lose staff in the process. While more remote offices tend to be cheaper, you could pay a price in struggling to attract people to work there.

Think about your clients, too. Will a remote location be conducive to attracting new clients? And if the only way to get to you is to drive, is there enough parking for both staff and clients?

Consider local amenities. Are there places to eat nearby? A shop? A gym? A park?

There are ways in which you don’t have to move to a new office that’s super high-spec to gain some pretty amazing perks. Simply move to an area which has better amenities.

Having restaurants nearby is great for client relationships and your staff. A nearby gym can promote and facilitate a healthy lifestyle. Nearby parks, greens or commons give your staff a place to go to and stroll around. These places will allow them to stretch their legs and clear their mind, fostering a more peaceful and productive work environment.

And of course, make sure your office is accessible. If you have staff with disabilities or who are in advanced age, that is essential. If not, you should still do so anyway. Prospective clients and staff may have those needs. Be thankful that you don’t and provide for those who do.

How to Prepare for An Office Move

prepare for an office move

As mentioned previously, no matter the circumstances, moving offices is going to get stressful for lots of people. 31% of business owners said that moving premises is the most stressful thing they could undertake.

Here are some tips you can take to reduce that stress to a minimum:

Delegate

Don’t take on the workload yourself. The amount of planning, administration, and work that needs to be done is too big for one pair of hands. Designate a project team made up of various highly organised members and let them handle the different aspects of the move.

Let the creative types handle the new office design. Allow the most analytical to handle all the processes.

Do you have an office or facilities manager? This is a great task for them. As your office manager, they’re going to need to have a deep and thorough understanding of the new premises.

You have a team of paid staff. Why not use them?

Delegation will make things easier. It gives more people ownership in the move, making them more enthusiastic and invested in it.

Planning

If you plan everything absolutely meticulously, then you’re giving yourself the best chance of relocation success. There is no such things as over-planning with this. The more rigorous you are in your planning, the more impervious to unexpected bumps in the road you will be.

Planning well will minimize any unexpected tragedies, anyway. From the timescale to where the new furniture is going, get everything planned and visualized.

Budgeting

Decide on and manage a budget for the move. This is going to be a hard thing to do but bear in mind that the average office move costs around £40,000. This should come under your planning, but you’ll need to create a mighty spreadsheet or equivalent for this.

Set yourself a budget target and track how you actually get on with it. That way, you can see how close you are to your budget in real time.

Auditing

An office move is a really good time to review and audit your business in terms of supplies, furniture, and equipment.

Is it worth lugging all those old PCs and musty chairs into your spangly new office? Or is time to invest in something new?

You can also use this time to think about your suppliers in terms of equipment and your utilities.

Communication

We’ve already advised it, but communication at all stages of the move is super important. From your staff to clients to suppliers, let everyone that needs to know what your plans are.

Most importantly, you need to be communicative with your staff. Listen to their wants and needs with regards the move and do your best to try and meet those. You won’t please everybody, but you can give it a good go!

If you’re thinking about an office move for your business, then congratulations! That means things are probably going well. And while moving will be stressful, it is possible to mitigate the stress with plenty of communication, careful organization, and stringent planning. Good luck!

See Also: How to Keep Business Data Secure When Transitioning to a New Office?

The post How to Prepare for An Office Move: Top Tips You Should Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Let Ringo Starr, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots distract you with an adorable toy-instruments version of ‘Yellow Submarine’

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We all live in… a hell world that’s rapidly warming beyond compatibility with civilization and is also largely governed by micro-souled mooseknuckles! Fortunately, there are some nice things to distract us while we fail to reach for the emergency brake in this particular handbasket to hell, like the above video of Ringo Starr, The Roots, and Jimmy Fallon singing the sweet, damply utopian ditty “Yellow Submarine” accompanied by toy instruments.

Soon we will all live beneath the waves. Until then, let’s pretend we live in the sunny 2D-animated acid flashback that happened every time the other three Beatles let Ringo near the mic, bless him. Read more…

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DJI launches new industrial drones for agriculture and new services for industry customers

DJI announced two new drones and a new initiative to support first responders during natural disasters and recovery missions with drone technologies as it moves to consolidate its position as the leading drone technology provider.

The company hyped its new multispectral drone as the world’s first fully integrated multispectral imaging drone to enable more efficient land management and the Agras T16, which is a spray drone to apply fertilizers and pesticides to field crops and orchards.

For first responders, the company is working with pre-selected U.S.-based partners to equip state and local public safety agencies with hardware and software from the company.  Initially DJI is working with public and volunteer institutions like the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, and the volunteer-based Public Safety Unmanned Response Team North Texas. Companies distributing and managing services include FlyMotion and Axon (which was formerly known as Taser International).

These partnerships are being pursued even as the U.S. military has officially banned the use of DJI drones over security concerns since 2017. The military still purchases DJI drones on a case-by-case basis, but there have been a number of red flags raised by U.S. defense and intelligence officials over the potential threat that using Chinese equipment may pose to national security.

“This program builds on DJI’s growing commitment to the public safety industry, as more than 900 public safety organizations across the United States, including the Los Angeles Fire Department, are deploying DJI drones for lifesaving activities,” said Romeo Durscher, Director of Public Safety Integration at DJI. “To date, at least 278 people around the world have been rescued from peril by drones and this program will ensure that many more lives are saved by mitigating the risks to emergency responders on the ground and on the front lines of natural disasters.”

Drone hardware and software distributed through the program will include DJI’s most advanced technologies including the DJI Matrice 200 series and Mavic 2 Enterprise series drones, accessories and batteries, powerful visual and thermal cameras, DJI’s FlightHub drone fleet management software, and DJI AeroScope for airspace management and unauthorized drone detection and mitigation. In addition, DJI will provide technical support, repair services, and on-site manpower to help organizations more effectively and efficiently deploy drone technology in times of need.

“Over the past year DJI has focused on delivering enterprise-grade drone technology that enables some of the most sophisticated businesses and government agencies in America to safely and securely deploy drone technology into their daily operations,” said Mario Rebello, Vice President and Americas Regional Manager at DJI. “This year we aim to put our easy-to-use drones in the hands of farmers, agronomists, and land stewards to help manage their lands in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way, while also making sure we equip emergency responders with access to the industry’s best tools and support they need to rapidly respond and save lives during natural disasters.”

DJI also took the opportunity to show off its drones as a platform for other technology developers, with FLIR Systems introducing its first multi-gas detector integrated with the DJI Matrice 210 drone for applications in chemical, industrial and environmental monitoring. DJI is allowing for even more development with the creation of a DJI X-Port, a gimbal attachment that allows hardware developers to integrate their own sensors, cameras, and arrays. The X-Port features built-in communication APIs, SkyPort integration, and . a gimbal debugging interface to bring more sensors to market.

Finally, the company introduced new service protection plans like the “Enterprise Shield Basic Renew”, which offers a reduced price product replacement for a damaged drone within one year of purchase and a “Shield Plus Renew” plan, which offers unlimited product replacements or free repair services within a year for the coverage amount a company purchases.

5 Ways VR/AR Technology Integrates Into Your Daily Life

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality aren’t ‘new’ technologies. Both were used in military applications since the 1980s and were later co-opted by the gaming industry.

AR and VR have more to offer humanity, especially now that wearable technology like headsets, data gloves, and other feedback devices continue to improve and go down in price. Additionally, the infrastructure needed to support this immersive technology is slowly finding its place in cities around the world.

As of this writing, there are over 25 metropolitan areas in the US with some access to 5G networks. This includes Dallas, San Francisco, and New York City. The higher bandwidth and decreased latency associated with 5G networks will be like spring rains to immersive tech.

All the crazy possibilities you’ve ever heard about AR/VR are about to sprout up everywhere, such as:

Wearable Heads Up Tech

Yeah, you’ve heard that one before. And yes, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell did just leave Facebook, throwing some doubt on what’s going on with the company’s long-awaited smart glasses. But there’s still plenty of buzz on tech sites covering Mark Zuckerberg’s determination to create a cool-looking AR wearable that won’t have to be tethered to a watch or a PC.

Just hope that they come up with a different name than “Orion” before the glasses are released to the public.

A Better First Week At Your New Job

virtual reality application

Pilots have been trained using VR for years. Manufacturing and industrial companies were pretty quick to adopt this type of training as well.

But now, even the guy who makes your sandwich at Chipotle is benefiting from VR training. And in an effort to prepare their staff for Black Friday craziness, Wal-Mart has managed to become the largest corporate investor in VR tech training.

Part of this interest in VR training is driven by the results of studies that show VR training decreases errors, improves task time, and improves information recall. Plus, the immersive quality of the training is simply more fun for new employees than old training methods.

See Also: The Future of XR Technology in Various Industries

Therapy Brain Training

Remember when your therapist told you to envision a peaceful place, such as walking on a green meadow at sunset? No? Just me?

Anyway, it turns out that virtual reality can be used to create immersive experiences. Good examples include walking in a field, interacting with penguins on a glacier, or throwing balls at teddy bears to gain points for toys. It could be any activity that can keep your brain too busy to notice and process pain sensations.

VR is used to foster mindfulness that essentially ‘hacks’ your brain into ignoring the pain signal. With some VR sets are now selling for less than $300, this may offer those with chronic pain issues a budget-friendly option for pain relief. It may also help combat the nationwide opioid epidemic.

A Better Looking Real World

Hate furniture shopping?

Many of us do, but buying furniture online seems risky when you can’t get a good feel for how that piece will integrate into your interior. That’s where companies like Wayfair and Ikea have stepped in. They have AR applications that will help you figure out whether you like that furniture in your space before you pay for it.

And AR is not just for furniture shopping. Sherwin Williams will let you try out paint colors on your walls while Sephora Virtual Artist will let you try colors on your face. You can use AR to shop for shoes, jewelry, and even manicures.

See Also: How Augmented Reality Is Changing The Game

Welcome to the Mirror World

application of virtual reality

That 5G expansion mentioned earlier allows for a significant increase in the amount of data moving back and forth between devices. Some people believe this will lead to a PokeMon Go type secondary platform for all reality called a mirror world.

This world will include augmented information about the real world that may give people details about real places, like “list all spots within 1000 yards of my office that have a bench with east-facing views of the river and shade at 1 pm”.

But it may also create an Alice-in-Wonderland type augmented landscape that interacts with our real one. Imagine looking out your window in the morning, not to the side of your neighbor’s house, but to a school of fish swimming past. Or sitting at your desk in the afternoon, working on that last Friday afternoon action report while wild horses stampede across a desert landscape beneath your feet.

There are visionaries who believe this is going to be a reality — at least a kind of reality soon. As 5G networks expand, so will this augmented mirror world. Eventually, some say, it will cover the entire planet.

Sound ridiculous?

Maybe.

But imagine going back to 1995 and telling someone that soon you would be able to virtually walk down almost every street in the world using an online map service with integrated superimposed images. And yet, today you can visually walk Paris, London or even the secondary roads of Thailand using Google.

Using developing technologies, in the next few decades, you may be able to fly to these places on your own private dragon — if the airlines allow AR in-flight, that is.

The post 5 Ways VR/AR Technology Integrates Into Your Daily Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Honestbee owes almost $1 million in unpaid salary to employees, according to affidavit filed by its CEO

Honestbee, the Singapore-based grocery delivery startup that has been struggling with financial issues, owes 217 employees a total of almost USD $1 million in unpaid salary. The Strait Times reported that the figure was revealed in an affidavit filed in court on Sept. 20 by Honestbee CEO Ong Lay Ann as part of the startup’s debt moratorium application.

The Ministry of Manpower told the Strait Times that 44 employees have filed claims with the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management, with some of the employees settling mediation by agreeing to a payment schedule with Honestbee that will be monitored by the alliance.

In an emailed statement to TechCrunch, an Honestbee spokesperson said, “There is a communicated salary delay for Honestbee’s ex-employees and employees currently serving notice. While there are regular injections of working capital, the amount remains insufficient for all headcount. As a result, the company has made the difficult decision to prioritize existing staff in Singapore. The company has the full intention in meeting its obligations to staff and will be, if not already in active discussions with staff in relation to a feasible payment schedule.”

TechCrunch reported in April that Honestbee was running out of money and trying to find a buyer. The company, which used to operate in eight markets across Asia, has stopped operating in Hong Kong and Indonesia, temporarily halted services in Japan and the Philippines and suspended its food delivery service in Thailand.

The affidavit filed by Ong says Honestbee currently has 190 employees, down from 523 full-time employees and 77 part-time workers in January.

Ong also said that Honestbee chairman Brian Koo resigned from the board on on Sept. 12.

According to the affidavit, Koo and associates including investment vehicles he set up, are owed about $258 million, or about 90% of Honestbee’s debt. Koo, a founding managing partner of venture capital firm Formation Group, was one of Honestbee’s earliest investors and served as interim CEO from May to July after former chief executive Joel Sng stepped down.

Megan Thee Stallion officially kicks off ‘Hot Girl Fall’ with an autumnal banger (feat. Jimmy Fallon)

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From back-to-school supplies and pun Halloween costumes to pie-baking and drunk hayrides: Megan Thee Stallion’s teamed up with Jimmy Fallon to celebrate all the reasons leaf-peeping season is far, far superior to 2019’s warm weather mega-meme, Hot Girl Summer. 

“Nothing makes me hotter than some temperate weather / Cause the summer was dope, but the fall’s even better,” Meg informs us, pulling her turtleneck way up over her face and rocking plaid thigh-high boots.

Speaking of, Tariq, aka The Roots’ Blackthought, also jumped in for a verse about how much he really, really loves plaid.

Just don’t try and masc up the name, Jimmy. Hot Girl Fall (aka Thotumn) is for everyone. Read more…

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How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition

I bet you’ve already read about social media and influencer marketing a lot. I bet you’ve already tried techniques that didn’t break the bank but didn’t excite you, either. And I bet you’ve already browsed the internet for answers on how to improve your marketing efforts.

The truth is that social media marketing and influencer marketing are two branches where something can go wrong pretty easily. However, this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to make it nor does it mean that you’ll need to pay a hefty amount of money to lead users further down your sales funnel.

sales funnel
Source: https://www.finteza.com/en/marketing-resources/13-conversion-funnels-must-have-marketing-tool

As you can see, not even 5% of the top of your funnel converts fully. We’re here to make sure that you won’t fall into any traps without having to pay a hefty amount of money for it.

Determine the platform and the target audience first

social media platform

You can’t know what you need to do later if you haven’t decided on who your target audience is first. Your target audience consists of those who will think that your brand is useful and will be positive when it comes to purchasing something.

After determining that, you’ll need to think about the platform they’re using. For example, you’ll need to develop a great Snapchat game if you want Gen Z’ers to notice you. For Baby Boomers, you’ll need a great Pinterest plan.

Two things are for sure though:

  • You’ll need a solid plan when it comes to Facebook and Instagram, regardless.
  • You’ll need a great email marketing and automation tool

The first one, because Facebook and Instagram are the most influential social media platforms and most people check a business online before trusting it.

business graph
Source: https://irishtechnews.ie/sme-utilize-social-media-marketing/

The second one, because email marketing and automation is the most affordable channel with a crazy-high ROI.

What are your goals?

Do you need more leads? Do you need to nurture the already existing leads? What are you after?

If you can’t determine that, you can’t have a strategy. Study all the data you gathered when you went through with step one. This will give you more clarity and insight when it comes to actually understanding the core values of your business, but from a client’s perspective.

Determining clear and achievable goals is what will give you better leverage to pretty much everything, from designing a newsletter template to using a landing page builder down the line.

“But why is that?” I hear you ask.

The answer is pretty simple — because content rules all. However, content that is not consistent with your brand’s tone will, in the long run, damage your goals.

As you see, everything is linked back to your target audience. This leads us to step No. 3:

Use influencers and giveaways

social media influencer marketing

 

You need your name and brand to grow one way or the other and influencers are the perfect people to help you do that. On the other hand, giveaways are the perfect way to give something back to your crowd and perhaps attract more people while you’re at it.

Now, think of combining those two:

Giving something back to an audience that would be interested in you, but is not following you yet.

This is where an influencer comes into play. Again: an influencer. Not a model or an ambassador as this would be a costlier option. Besides, their audience wouldn’t be niche-specific.

For example:

Use a makeup artist if you want to promote your beauty brand. A makeup artist will have followers that will definitely be interested in your product, be it other makeup artists or just people watching YouTube tutorials on how to nail the perfect cat-eye.

That influencer can host a giveaway. It will attract people that will definitely be interested in what you’ve got to give back.

One little tip here:

Your brand tone should match the influencer’s brand tone. Here, you’re the one trying to convert an already existing audience into followers and, ultimately, customers.

Those followers are used to a specific tone of voice and means of promoting a product. So, the best thing to do would be simply leaving the creative aspect up to the influencers themselves — up to an extent, of course.

See Also: The Importance of Storytelling in Marketing

A couple of tips for the road

You wouldn’t want things to go wrong or maybe you’ve already gone through with your first giveaway and it didn’t quite work out.

This is where the following tips come into play:

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Be very careful about what you’re giving out on a giveaway, what is in your inventory in the first place and about the terms and conditions. You don’t want to have to deal with a case like this one.

Don’t be too vague with the rules. Your followers need to know exactly what they need to do in order to be eligible for the giveaway. Confusion is not your friend.

Don’t make things too complicated for a gift that’s too simple and vice-versa. Nobody will bother with a free sample if they’ve got to tag and tag accounts and people.

See Also: How To Drive Traffic to Your Website Through Social Media

Takeaway

The use of social media and influencers can be of great value to SMEs especially, seeing as everyone takes on to social media platforms in order to check the social proof and the end-value of a business.

Leverage micro-influencers that are niche-specific and you’ll see your conversion rate skyrocket!

So, what say you? Are these tips on social media and influencer marketing enough? Is there something you’ve tried and would like to share with us?

Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to share the knowledge!

The post How To Nail Social Media and Influencer Marketing: The SME Edition appeared first on Dumb Little Man.