Month: December 2019

Tech’s biggest companies are worth ~$5T as 2019’s epic stock market run wraps

Look, this is the last post I’m writing in 2019 and I’m tired. But I can’t let the year close without taking stock of how well tech stocks did this year. It was bonkers.

So let’s mark the year’s conclusion with some notes for our future selves. Yes, we know that the Nasdaq has been setting new records and SaaS had a good year. But we need to dig in and get the numbers out so that we can look back and remember.

Let’s cap off this year the way it deserves to be remembered, as a kick-ass trip ’round the sun for your local, public technology company.

Keeping score

We’ll start with the indices that we care about:

  • The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 35% in 2019
  • The SaaS-heavy Bessemer Cloud Index rose 41% this year

Next, the highest-value U.S.-based technology companies:

  • Microsoft was up around 55% in 2019
  • Apple managed an 86% gain in the year
  • Not be left out, Facebook rose 57%
  • Amazon posted its own gain of 23% in 2019
  • Alphabet managed to grow by 29%, as well

Now let’s turn to some companies that we care about, even if they are smaller than the Big Five:

  • Salesforce? Up 19% this year
  • Adobe was up 46% in 2019, which was astounding
  • Intel picked up 28% in the year, making it no slouch
  • Even Oracle managed to gain 17% in 2019

And so on.

The technology industry’s epic run has been so strong that The Wall Street Journal noted this morning that, powered by tech companies, U.S. stocks “are poised for their best annual performance in six years.” The Journal highlighted the performance of Apple and Microsoft in particular for helping drive the boom. I wonder why.

How long will we live in the neighborhood of Nasdaq 9,000? How long can two tech companies be worth more than $1 trillion at the same time? How long can the biggest tech companies be worth a combined $4.93 trillion (I remember when $3 trillion for the Big Five was news, and I recall when the group reach a collective value of $4 trillion).1

But the worst trade in recent years has been the pessimists’ gambit. No matter what, stocks have kept going up, short-term hiccoughs and other missteps aside.

For nearly everyone, that is. While tech stocks in general did very well, some names that we all know did not. Let’s close on those reminders that a rising tide lifts only most boats.

2019 naughty list

Several of the most lackluster public tech companies were 2019 technology IPOs, interestingly enough. Who didn’t do well? Uber earns a spot on the naughty list for not only being underwater from its IPO price, but also from its final private valuations. And as you guessed, Lyft is down from its IPO price as well, which is not good.

Some 2019 IPOs did well in the middle of the year, but fell a little flat as the year came to a close. Pinterest, Beyond Meat and Zoom meet that criteria, for example. And some SaaS companies struggled, even if we think they will reach $1 billion in revenue in time.

But it was mostly a party. The public markets were good, and tech stocks were great. This helped create another 100+ unicorns in the year.

Such was 2019. On to 2020!

  1. In time, those numbers will look small. But sitting here on December 31, 2019, they appear huge and towering and, it must be said, somewhat perilously stacked.

Making sense of the timeline in Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’

Making sense of the timeline in Netflix's 'The Witcher'

The Witcher‘s blend of fantasy, realism, and straight-up folk rock ballads make it one of the more interesting new shows to come out of Netflix in 2019. It is not, however, one of the streaming network’s most straightforward. 

Taking place over three timelines, The Witcher weaves all over the place and bamboozles its viewers on purpose, making it hard to discern where and when its characters are at any given time. Whether or not this timeline gambit effective is a question for another time, but for now it’s given Witcher fans (witchies?) a pretty puzzle to parse until Netflix releases Season 2. Read more…

More about Netflix, The Witcher, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows

India’s richest man is ready to take on Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

As Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart spend billions to make a dent in India’s retail market and reel from recent regulatory hurdles, the two companies have stumbled upon a new challenge: Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man.

Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, two subsidiaries of Ambani’s Reliance Industries, said they have soft launched JioMart, their e-commerce venture, in parts of the state of Maharashtra — Mumbai, Kalyan and Thane.

The e-commerce venture, which is being marketed as “Desh Ki Nayi Dukaan” (Hindi for new store for the country), currently offers a catalog of 50,000 grocery items and promises “free and express delivery.”

In an email to employees, accessed by TechCrunch, the two aforementioned subsidiaries that are working together on the e-commerce venture, said they plan to expand the service to many parts of India in coming months. A Reliance spokesperson declined to comment.

The soft launch this week comes months after Ambani, who runs Reliance Industries — India’s largest industrial house — said that he wants to service tens of millions of retailers and store owners across the country.

If there is anyone in India who is positioned to compete with heavily-backed Amazon and Walmart, it’s him. Reliance Retail, which was founded in 2006, is the largest retailer in the country by revenue. It serves more than 3.5 million customers each week through its nearly 10,000 physical stores in more than 6,500 Indian cities and towns.

Reliance Jio is the largest telecom operator in India with more than 350 million subscribers. The 4G-only carrier, which launched commercial operations in the second half of 2016, disrupted the incumbent telecom operation in the country by offering bulk of data and voice calls at little to no charge for an extended period of time.

In a speech in January, Ambani, an ally of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, invoked Mahatama Gandhi and said like Gandhi, who led a movement against political colonization of India, “we have to collectively launch a new movement against data colonization. For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India – in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian.” Modi was among the attendees.

E-commerce still accounts for just a fraction of total retail sales in India. India’s retail market is estimated to grow to $188 billion in next four years, up from about $79 billion last year, according to research firm Technopak Advisors.

In an interview earlier this year, Amit Agarwal, manager of Amazon India, said, “one thing to keep in mind is that e-commerce is a very, very small portion of total retail consumption in India, probably less than 3%.”

To make their businesses more appealing to Indians, both Amazon and Flipkart have expanded their offerings and entered new businesses. Both of the platforms are working on food retail, for instance. Amazon has bought stakes in a number of retailers in India, including in India’s second largest retail chain Future Retail’s Future Coupons, Indian supermarket chain More, and department store chain Shopper’s Stop.

Flipkart has invested in a number of logistic startups including ShadowFax and Ninjacart. Amazon India was also in talks with Ninjacart to acquire some stake in the Bangalore-based startup, people familiar with the matter said.

More to follow…

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia’s raging fires approached

Thousands told to jump into the ocean as Australia's raging fires approached

The sun didn’t rise on New Year’s Eve. The summer morning in a small beach town on the east coast of Australia looked like a winter’s night. 

That black sky soon gave way to a blazing, eerie orange as the flames approached. At least 4,000 people were told to jump into the ocean. Gas cylinders could be heard popping like fireworks as they exploded. 

The town of Mallacoota looked apocalyptic on Tuesday local time as it became the latest victim of Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

It was too late to evacuate. 

“We are one road in, one road out. That road’s been blocked for hours and hours and hours,” Francesca Winterson from Mallacoota Community Radio told News Breakfast, a national TV broadcast.  Read more…

More about Australia, Bushfires, Science, and Climate Environment

Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month

“Payment Successful”

That’s it. Gone forever.

Your last $50 spent in grocery bills and you think “Where does all my money go?” .

You wonder how your co-workers can afford all the glitter and gold while you end up without a dime to pay for the piling bills.

In fact, you always have this nagging feeling that you’ll end up spending your next paycheck with nothing to show for it.

And you can’t help but think:

Is it normal to feel like I’ll lose all my money even if I won the lottery? Will I always be dead broke or pretty much close?

Deep down, you know you are NOT on the right track.

Things must change.

Step 1 – Commit to mastery

Five thousand four hundred and seventy five…

The days it took for ancient Chinese monks to master the art of Kung-Fu. Guess what they were doing for all those hours?

Practicing Kung-Fu.

But more importantly, they vowed to dedicate not only those hours, but their entire lives to the Art.

The Monk’s Guide to Saving

You’re probably wondering what Martial Arts have to do with your money. Well, here’s the big secret:

Although learning to save doesn’t require hours of vigorous training, like Kung Fu, it does require a fair deal of practice and discipline.

Why?

Because more than an ingrained habit, savings must be a mastered skill. Granted, that takes sustained effort, restraint, patience, and time.

Once you make an unwavering commitment to set aside a specific amount every month, you are well on your way to quadrupling your savings in no time.

So, adjust your mindset and commit to practicing all the steps.

WARNING:

Most people take this step for granted and make a fickle decision to sparingly set aside “some money, somehow”.

And guess what?

They end up with zero in savings and bitter with life.

Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster and you want to avoid it at all costs. It will sour your taste buds and empty your pockets, literally.

Step 2 – Record all income

how to save half of income

Quick Question:…

Do you know exactly what you earned last month?

I mean with 99.99% precision.

Cracking your brain yet?

When planning to save, it is not uncommon for people to become absorbed in monitoring their expenses while completely ignoring the essential piece. It’s tracking their income every day.

Determining the exact amount you receive in daily earnings is a crucial step that provides the basis for the following:

  • Means to identify your primary and secondary sources of income
  • Scale to measure an increase or a decrease in your earnings
  • Guide to track all of your expenses
  • Road-map to monitor your progress towards savings
  • A Reference point for making informed future investment decisions

See how this gold mine of useful information can improve your overall financial well-being?

The ridiculously easy way to keep track of your income

Tracking anything isn’t easy, especially your income. You have no idea what those cryptic bank statements mean and you have no clue what ledgers are. You have zero interest in the term “deductibles”.

Not to worry, you don’t need to know all those boring accounting jargon.

In fact, all you need is to record every dollar bill you earn every day and translate that to your weekly and overall monthly earnings.

Here is a simple sheet to illustrate the concept a little better:

Source : Hours – Pay Per Hour – Daily – Weekly – Monthly
Salary :     8    –        $10       –  $80  –     $      –   $
Business :               $100       –  $100 –    $    –    $
Other – – – – –
Total:                       $180     –      $   –     $
Date: Today

Don’t worry, you can adapt it to your particular situation.

Why the slightest changes to your money matter

The total of your monthly earnings is like a mini-map that guides you to your saving goal by informing you about your current position, destination, and journey.

Hence, tracking the slightest changes in your daily income with precision is key to ensuring your mini-map is accurate. Use the format above for guidance. Copy it into a jotter and practice every day for the next month.

Note: You would prefer to write your earnings with pen on paper because it excites your senses and provides you with a handy reference point.

Step 3 – Spend it all

Pour all your money down the drain!

Yep, you heard me right. Spend every penny you make, but do it the right way.

Before you think I am a financial Frankenstein speaking in tongues and desperate to make you my lab rat, allow me to explain.

Every day, for the next 30 days, you’ll be spending your recorded income as usual but with a little tweak.

How to tweak your spending for maximum results

You will take note of every little expense- like down to .99 cents.

Because again, you probably have no clue what your previous month’s expenses were. And to improve your saving habits, you’ll need to identify the areas you spend money the most and make adjustments.

A surprising lesson from billionaires

You would think that billionaire Warren Buffet owns a luxurious fleet of custom Rolls Royce Coupes delivered directly from the factory to his Garage every year.

Well, that isn’t the case.

He actually drives a $23,000 Cadillac DTS and he bought a used one.

Shocking?

Most mega-rich people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg understand and apply a timeless and effective financial secret.

The simple saving technique that never fails is that they live below their means by prioritizing needs over wants.

In other words, whatever isn’t a necessity is eliminated. And you’ll be applying the same principle to fast track the process of saving half of your income or even more every month.

Take note of your spending every single day, preferably for the next 30 days.

Within a month, you would have recorded your earnings, drilled down on your spending habits, and produced a clear (most times shocking) picture of where you are throwing away money.

Only then will you be in a better position to prioritize your needs and eliminate your wants.

Step 4 – Hone your skills

save half of income

At this point, you’d be halfway towards saving half of income and ready to hone your newly acquired saving skills by applying some effective tips.

Ready?

To proceed further down the rabbit hole, it is crucial to learn this lesson:

Set a savings and spending goal for the next month.

Example:

  • January savings goal: 50% of monthly income
  • January spending goal: 50% of monthly income

If the expense tracking exercise reveals that you are capable of living on 50% of your income (or less), then increase your savings by using the tips below. If, not, then use the following tips to lower your monthly spending.

10 Ideas for Saving Effectively

  • Stay organized by dividing cash into envelopes with categories like “food”, “rent”, and “transport”. When an envelope runs empty, stop spending in that category.
  • Reduce the discreet flow of energy (Phantom Power) by unplugging cell phone chargers, TVs, and computers when you’re not using them.
  • Walk, bike, use the subway, ride the tram, bus or commute to easily save more than $100 per month on gas.
  • Leave your wallet when you head out so you won’t be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.
  • Save at least $500 a year by canceling cable TV and switching to alternatives like Netflix which costs $8 per month.
  • Buy items in bulk to save money on unit price.
  • Sleep, exercise, and eat healthy to prevent incurring expensive medical bills.
  • Reduce impulse purchases by sticking to a shopping list when going to the grocery store.
  • Save spare change in a piggy bank.
  • Eat in, not out.

Note: You can add more to these tips. Be creative. When reducing your monthly expenses, focus on every possible angle and don’t leave any stones unturned.

Step 5 – Test Run, Rinse, and Repeat

The rubber meets the road here…

Time to test your new set of acquired skills. Use this effective testing template:

  • Month 1: Apply steps 1 to 3 every day
  • Month 2: Apply steps 2 – 5 every day

What happens after Month 2?

Tweak your progress and repeat. From the second month onward, two things can happen.

It’s either you fail to act and end up back in square one or you commit to applying all steps and save half of your income or more.

Final Thoughts

Being broke sucks, particularly when you know you are throwing money away.

But simple changes to the way you spend can have dramatic effects on your saving habits. Just imagine ending up with every dollar saved at the end of the month.

Imagine waking up every day with absolute financial freedom that comes from being penny-wise. Think about being able to afford that nice Mercedes or that chateau in Cannes or perhaps, that comfy corner couch you have been interested in for a while now.

Remember, success is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.

To begin your successful journey, apply the first and second techniques above, starting now. Commit to practicing the rest of the process every day, for the next few weeks. Keep track, make changes, and improve as you go along.

You could be saving half of income or more next month.

See Also: HSA or FSA: Which One Do You Really Need To Maximize Your Savings?

The post Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month

“Payment Successful”

That’s it. Gone forever.

Your last $50 spent in grocery bills and you think “Where does all my money go?” .

You wonder how your co-workers can afford all the glitter and gold while you end up without a dime to pay for the piling bills.

In fact, you always have this nagging feeling that you’ll end up spending your next paycheck with nothing to show for it.

And you can’t help but think:

Is it normal to feel like I’ll lose all my money even if I won the lottery? Will I always be dead broke or pretty much close?

Deep down, you know you are NOT on the right track.

Things must change.

Step 1 – Commit to mastery

Five thousand four hundred and seventy five…

The days it took for ancient Chinese monks to master the art of Kung-Fu. Guess what they were doing for all those hours?

Practicing Kung-Fu.

But more importantly, they vowed to dedicate not only those hours, but their entire lives to the Art.

The Monk’s Guide to Saving

You’re probably wondering what Martial Arts have to do with your money. Well, here’s the big secret:

Although learning to save doesn’t require hours of vigorous training, like Kung Fu, it does require a fair deal of practice and discipline.

Why?

Because more than an ingrained habit, savings must be a mastered skill. Granted, that takes sustained effort, restraint, patience, and time.

Once you make an unwavering commitment to set aside a specific amount every month, you are well on your way to quadrupling your savings in no time.

So, adjust your mindset and commit to practicing all the steps.

WARNING:

Most people take this step for granted and make a fickle decision to sparingly set aside “some money, somehow”.

And guess what?

They end up with zero in savings and bitter with life.

Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster and you want to avoid it at all costs. It will sour your taste buds and empty your pockets, literally.

Step 2 – Record all income

how to save half of income

Quick Question:…

Do you know exactly what you earned last month?

I mean with 99.99% precision.

Cracking your brain yet?

When planning to save, it is not uncommon for people to become absorbed in monitoring their expenses while completely ignoring the essential piece. It’s tracking their income every day.

Determining the exact amount you receive in daily earnings is a crucial step that provides the basis for the following:

  • Means to identify your primary and secondary sources of income
  • Scale to measure an increase or a decrease in your earnings
  • Guide to track all of your expenses
  • Road-map to monitor your progress towards savings
  • A Reference point for making informed future investment decisions

See how this gold mine of useful information can improve your overall financial well-being?

The ridiculously easy way to keep track of your income

Tracking anything isn’t easy, especially your income. You have no idea what those cryptic bank statements mean and you have no clue what ledgers are. You have zero interest in the term “deductibles”.

Not to worry, you don’t need to know all those boring accounting jargon.

In fact, all you need is to record every dollar bill you earn every day and translate that to your weekly and overall monthly earnings.

Here is a simple sheet to illustrate the concept a little better:

Source : Hours – Pay Per Hour – Daily – Weekly – Monthly
Salary :     8    –        $10       –  $80  –     $      –   $
Business :               $100       –  $100 –    $    –    $
Other – – – – –
Total:                       $180     –      $   –     $
Date: Today

Don’t worry, you can adapt it to your particular situation.

Why the slightest changes to your money matter

The total of your monthly earnings is like a mini-map that guides you to your saving goal by informing you about your current position, destination, and journey.

Hence, tracking the slightest changes in your daily income with precision is key to ensuring your mini-map is accurate. Use the format above for guidance. Copy it into a jotter and practice every day for the next month.

Note: You would prefer to write your earnings with pen on paper because it excites your senses and provides you with a handy reference point.

Step 3 – Spend it all

Pour all your money down the drain!

Yep, you heard me right. Spend every penny you make, but do it the right way.

Before you think I am a financial Frankenstein speaking in tongues and desperate to make you my lab rat, allow me to explain.

Every day, for the next 30 days, you’ll be spending your recorded income as usual but with a little tweak.

How to tweak your spending for maximum results

You will take note of every little expense- like down to .99 cents.

Because again, you probably have no clue what your previous month’s expenses were. And to improve your saving habits, you’ll need to identify the areas you spend money the most and make adjustments.

A surprising lesson from billionaires

You would think that billionaire Warren Buffet owns a luxurious fleet of custom Rolls Royce Coupes delivered directly from the factory to his Garage every year.

Well, that isn’t the case.

He actually drives a $23,000 Cadillac DTS and he bought a used one.

Shocking?

Most mega-rich people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg understand and apply a timeless and effective financial secret.

The simple saving technique that never fails is that they live below their means by prioritizing needs over wants.

In other words, whatever isn’t a necessity is eliminated. And you’ll be applying the same principle to fast track the process of saving half of your income or even more every month.

Take note of your spending every single day, preferably for the next 30 days.

Within a month, you would have recorded your earnings, drilled down on your spending habits, and produced a clear (most times shocking) picture of where you are throwing away money.

Only then will you be in a better position to prioritize your needs and eliminate your wants.

Step 4 – Hone your skills

save half of income

At this point, you’d be halfway towards saving half of income and ready to hone your newly acquired saving skills by applying some effective tips.

Ready?

To proceed further down the rabbit hole, it is crucial to learn this lesson:

Set a savings and spending goal for the next month.

Example:

  • January savings goal: 50% of monthly income
  • January spending goal: 50% of monthly income

If the expense tracking exercise reveals that you are capable of living on 50% of your income (or less), then increase your savings by using the tips below. If, not, then use the following tips to lower your monthly spending.

10 Ideas for Saving Effectively

  • Stay organized by dividing cash into envelopes with categories like “food”, “rent”, and “transport”. When an envelope runs empty, stop spending in that category.
  • Reduce the discreet flow of energy (Phantom Power) by unplugging cell phone chargers, TVs, and computers when you’re not using them.
  • Walk, bike, use the subway, ride the tram, bus or commute to easily save more than $100 per month on gas.
  • Leave your wallet when you head out so you won’t be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.
  • Save at least $500 a year by canceling cable TV and switching to alternatives like Netflix which costs $8 per month.
  • Buy items in bulk to save money on unit price.
  • Sleep, exercise, and eat healthy to prevent incurring expensive medical bills.
  • Reduce impulse purchases by sticking to a shopping list when going to the grocery store.
  • Save spare change in a piggy bank.
  • Eat in, not out.

Note: You can add more to these tips. Be creative. When reducing your monthly expenses, focus on every possible angle and don’t leave any stones unturned.

Step 5 – Test Run, Rinse, and Repeat

The rubber meets the road here…

Time to test your new set of acquired skills. Use this effective testing template:

  • Month 1: Apply steps 1 to 3 every day
  • Month 2: Apply steps 2 – 5 every day

What happens after Month 2?

Tweak your progress and repeat. From the second month onward, two things can happen.

It’s either you fail to act and end up back in square one or you commit to applying all steps and save half of your income or more.

Final Thoughts

Being broke sucks, particularly when you know you are throwing money away.

But simple changes to the way you spend can have dramatic effects on your saving habits. Just imagine ending up with every dollar saved at the end of the month.

Imagine waking up every day with absolute financial freedom that comes from being penny-wise. Think about being able to afford that nice Mercedes or that chateau in Cannes or perhaps, that comfy corner couch you have been interested in for a while now.

Remember, success is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.

To begin your successful journey, apply the first and second techniques above, starting now. Commit to practicing the rest of the process every day, for the next few weeks. Keep track, make changes, and improve as you go along.

You could be saving half of income or more next month.

See Also: HSA or FSA: Which One Do You Really Need To Maximize Your Savings?

The post Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month

“Payment Successful”

That’s it. Gone forever.

Your last $50 spent in grocery bills and you think “Where does all my money go?” .

You wonder how your co-workers can afford all the glitter and gold while you end up without a dime to pay for the piling bills.

In fact, you always have this nagging feeling that you’ll end up spending your next paycheck with nothing to show for it.

And you can’t help but think:

Is it normal to feel like I’ll lose all my money even if I won the lottery? Will I always be dead broke or pretty much close?

Deep down, you know you are NOT on the right track.

Things must change.

Step 1 – Commit to mastery

Five thousand four hundred and seventy five…

The days it took for ancient Chinese monks to master the art of Kung-Fu. Guess what they were doing for all those hours?

Practicing Kung-Fu.

But more importantly, they vowed to dedicate not only those hours, but their entire lives to the Art.

The Monk’s Guide to Saving

You’re probably wondering what Martial Arts have to do with your money. Well, here’s the big secret:

Although learning to save doesn’t require hours of vigorous training, like Kung Fu, it does require a fair deal of practice and discipline.

Why?

Because more than an ingrained habit, savings must be a mastered skill. Granted, that takes sustained effort, restraint, patience, and time.

Once you make an unwavering commitment to set aside a specific amount every month, you are well on your way to quadrupling your savings in no time.

So, adjust your mindset and commit to practicing all the steps.

WARNING:

Most people take this step for granted and make a fickle decision to sparingly set aside “some money, somehow”.

And guess what?

They end up with zero in savings and bitter with life.

Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster and you want to avoid it at all costs. It will sour your taste buds and empty your pockets, literally.

Step 2 – Record all income

how to save half of income

Quick Question:…

Do you know exactly what you earned last month?

I mean with 99.99% precision.

Cracking your brain yet?

When planning to save, it is not uncommon for people to become absorbed in monitoring their expenses while completely ignoring the essential piece. It’s tracking their income every day.

Determining the exact amount you receive in daily earnings is a crucial step that provides the basis for the following:

  • Means to identify your primary and secondary sources of income
  • Scale to measure an increase or a decrease in your earnings
  • Guide to track all of your expenses
  • Road-map to monitor your progress towards savings
  • A Reference point for making informed future investment decisions

See how this gold mine of useful information can improve your overall financial well-being?

The ridiculously easy way to keep track of your income

Tracking anything isn’t easy, especially your income. You have no idea what those cryptic bank statements mean and you have no clue what ledgers are. You have zero interest in the term “deductibles”.

Not to worry, you don’t need to know all those boring accounting jargon.

In fact, all you need is to record every dollar bill you earn every day and translate that to your weekly and overall monthly earnings.

Here is a simple sheet to illustrate the concept a little better:

Source : Hours – Pay Per Hour – Daily – Weekly – Monthly
Salary :     8    –        $10       –  $80  –     $      –   $
Business :               $100       –  $100 –    $    –    $
Other – – – – –
Total:                       $180     –      $   –     $
Date: Today

Don’t worry, you can adapt it to your particular situation.

Why the slightest changes to your money matter

The total of your monthly earnings is like a mini-map that guides you to your saving goal by informing you about your current position, destination, and journey.

Hence, tracking the slightest changes in your daily income with precision is key to ensuring your mini-map is accurate. Use the format above for guidance. Copy it into a jotter and practice every day for the next month.

Note: You would prefer to write your earnings with pen on paper because it excites your senses and provides you with a handy reference point.

Step 3 – Spend it all

Pour all your money down the drain!

Yep, you heard me right. Spend every penny you make, but do it the right way.

Before you think I am a financial Frankenstein speaking in tongues and desperate to make you my lab rat, allow me to explain.

Every day, for the next 30 days, you’ll be spending your recorded income as usual but with a little tweak.

How to tweak your spending for maximum results

You will take note of every little expense- like down to .99 cents.

Because again, you probably have no clue what your previous month’s expenses were. And to improve your saving habits, you’ll need to identify the areas you spend money the most and make adjustments.

A surprising lesson from billionaires

You would think that billionaire Warren Buffet owns a luxurious fleet of custom Rolls Royce Coupes delivered directly from the factory to his Garage every year.

Well, that isn’t the case.

He actually drives a $23,000 Cadillac DTS and he bought a used one.

Shocking?

Most mega-rich people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg understand and apply a timeless and effective financial secret.

The simple saving technique that never fails is that they live below their means by prioritizing needs over wants.

In other words, whatever isn’t a necessity is eliminated. And you’ll be applying the same principle to fast track the process of saving half of your income or even more every month.

Take note of your spending every single day, preferably for the next 30 days.

Within a month, you would have recorded your earnings, drilled down on your spending habits, and produced a clear (most times shocking) picture of where you are throwing away money.

Only then will you be in a better position to prioritize your needs and eliminate your wants.

Step 4 – Hone your skills

save half of income

At this point, you’d be halfway towards saving half of income and ready to hone your newly acquired saving skills by applying some effective tips.

Ready?

To proceed further down the rabbit hole, it is crucial to learn this lesson:

Set a savings and spending goal for the next month.

Example:

  • January savings goal: 50% of monthly income
  • January spending goal: 50% of monthly income

If the expense tracking exercise reveals that you are capable of living on 50% of your income (or less), then increase your savings by using the tips below. If, not, then use the following tips to lower your monthly spending.

10 Ideas for Saving Effectively

  • Stay organized by dividing cash into envelopes with categories like “food”, “rent”, and “transport”. When an envelope runs empty, stop spending in that category.
  • Reduce the discreet flow of energy (Phantom Power) by unplugging cell phone chargers, TVs, and computers when you’re not using them.
  • Walk, bike, use the subway, ride the tram, bus or commute to easily save more than $100 per month on gas.
  • Leave your wallet when you head out so you won’t be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.
  • Save at least $500 a year by canceling cable TV and switching to alternatives like Netflix which costs $8 per month.
  • Buy items in bulk to save money on unit price.
  • Sleep, exercise, and eat healthy to prevent incurring expensive medical bills.
  • Reduce impulse purchases by sticking to a shopping list when going to the grocery store.
  • Save spare change in a piggy bank.
  • Eat in, not out.

Note: You can add more to these tips. Be creative. When reducing your monthly expenses, focus on every possible angle and don’t leave any stones unturned.

Step 5 – Test Run, Rinse, and Repeat

The rubber meets the road here…

Time to test your new set of acquired skills. Use this effective testing template:

  • Month 1: Apply steps 1 to 3 every day
  • Month 2: Apply steps 2 – 5 every day

What happens after Month 2?

Tweak your progress and repeat. From the second month onward, two things can happen.

It’s either you fail to act and end up back in square one or you commit to applying all steps and save half of your income or more.

Final Thoughts

Being broke sucks, particularly when you know you are throwing money away.

But simple changes to the way you spend can have dramatic effects on your saving habits. Just imagine ending up with every dollar saved at the end of the month.

Imagine waking up every day with absolute financial freedom that comes from being penny-wise. Think about being able to afford that nice Mercedes or that chateau in Cannes or perhaps, that comfy corner couch you have been interested in for a while now.

Remember, success is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.

To begin your successful journey, apply the first and second techniques above, starting now. Commit to practicing the rest of the process every day, for the next few weeks. Keep track, make changes, and improve as you go along.

You could be saving half of income or more next month.

See Also: HSA or FSA: Which One Do You Really Need To Maximize Your Savings?

The post Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month

“Payment Successful”

That’s it. Gone forever.

Your last $50 spent in grocery bills and you think “Where does all my money go?” .

You wonder how your co-workers can afford all the glitter and gold while you end up without a dime to pay for the piling bills.

In fact, you always have this nagging feeling that you’ll end up spending your next paycheck with nothing to show for it.

And you can’t help but think:

Is it normal to feel like I’ll lose all my money even if I won the lottery? Will I always be dead broke or pretty much close?

Deep down, you know you are NOT on the right track.

Things must change.

Step 1 – Commit to mastery

Five thousand four hundred and seventy five…

The days it took for ancient Chinese monks to master the art of Kung-Fu. Guess what they were doing for all those hours?

Practicing Kung-Fu.

But more importantly, they vowed to dedicate not only those hours, but their entire lives to the Art.

The Monk’s Guide to Saving

You’re probably wondering what Martial Arts have to do with your money. Well, here’s the big secret:

Although learning to save doesn’t require hours of vigorous training, like Kung Fu, it does require a fair deal of practice and discipline.

Why?

Because more than an ingrained habit, savings must be a mastered skill. Granted, that takes sustained effort, restraint, patience, and time.

Once you make an unwavering commitment to set aside a specific amount every month, you are well on your way to quadrupling your savings in no time.

So, adjust your mindset and commit to practicing all the steps.

WARNING:

Most people take this step for granted and make a fickle decision to sparingly set aside “some money, somehow”.

And guess what?

They end up with zero in savings and bitter with life.

Obviously, that’s a recipe for disaster and you want to avoid it at all costs. It will sour your taste buds and empty your pockets, literally.

Step 2 – Record all income

how to save half of income

Quick Question:…

Do you know exactly what you earned last month?

I mean with 99.99% precision.

Cracking your brain yet?

When planning to save, it is not uncommon for people to become absorbed in monitoring their expenses while completely ignoring the essential piece. It’s tracking their income every day.

Determining the exact amount you receive in daily earnings is a crucial step that provides the basis for the following:

  • Means to identify your primary and secondary sources of income
  • Scale to measure an increase or a decrease in your earnings
  • Guide to track all of your expenses
  • Road-map to monitor your progress towards savings
  • A Reference point for making informed future investment decisions

See how this gold mine of useful information can improve your overall financial well-being?

The ridiculously easy way to keep track of your income

Tracking anything isn’t easy, especially your income. You have no idea what those cryptic bank statements mean and you have no clue what ledgers are. You have zero interest in the term “deductibles”.

Not to worry, you don’t need to know all those boring accounting jargon.

In fact, all you need is to record every dollar bill you earn every day and translate that to your weekly and overall monthly earnings.

Here is a simple sheet to illustrate the concept a little better:

Source : Hours – Pay Per Hour – Daily – Weekly – Monthly
Salary :     8    –        $10       –  $80  –     $      –   $
Business :               $100       –  $100 –    $    –    $
Other – – – – –
Total:                       $180     –      $   –     $
Date: Today

Don’t worry, you can adapt it to your particular situation.

Why the slightest changes to your money matter

The total of your monthly earnings is like a mini-map that guides you to your saving goal by informing you about your current position, destination, and journey.

Hence, tracking the slightest changes in your daily income with precision is key to ensuring your mini-map is accurate. Use the format above for guidance. Copy it into a jotter and practice every day for the next month.

Note: You would prefer to write your earnings with pen on paper because it excites your senses and provides you with a handy reference point.

Step 3 – Spend it all

Pour all your money down the drain!

Yep, you heard me right. Spend every penny you make, but do it the right way.

Before you think I am a financial Frankenstein speaking in tongues and desperate to make you my lab rat, allow me to explain.

Every day, for the next 30 days, you’ll be spending your recorded income as usual but with a little tweak.

How to tweak your spending for maximum results

You will take note of every little expense- like down to .99 cents.

Because again, you probably have no clue what your previous month’s expenses were. And to improve your saving habits, you’ll need to identify the areas you spend money the most and make adjustments.

A surprising lesson from billionaires

You would think that billionaire Warren Buffet owns a luxurious fleet of custom Rolls Royce Coupes delivered directly from the factory to his Garage every year.

Well, that isn’t the case.

He actually drives a $23,000 Cadillac DTS and he bought a used one.

Shocking?

Most mega-rich people like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg understand and apply a timeless and effective financial secret.

The simple saving technique that never fails is that they live below their means by prioritizing needs over wants.

In other words, whatever isn’t a necessity is eliminated. And you’ll be applying the same principle to fast track the process of saving half of your income or even more every month.

Take note of your spending every single day, preferably for the next 30 days.

Within a month, you would have recorded your earnings, drilled down on your spending habits, and produced a clear (most times shocking) picture of where you are throwing away money.

Only then will you be in a better position to prioritize your needs and eliminate your wants.

Step 4 – Hone your skills

save half of income

At this point, you’d be halfway towards saving half of income and ready to hone your newly acquired saving skills by applying some effective tips.

Ready?

To proceed further down the rabbit hole, it is crucial to learn this lesson:

Set a savings and spending goal for the next month.

Example:

  • January savings goal: 50% of monthly income
  • January spending goal: 50% of monthly income

If the expense tracking exercise reveals that you are capable of living on 50% of your income (or less), then increase your savings by using the tips below. If, not, then use the following tips to lower your monthly spending.

10 Ideas for Saving Effectively

  • Stay organized by dividing cash into envelopes with categories like “food”, “rent”, and “transport”. When an envelope runs empty, stop spending in that category.
  • Reduce the discreet flow of energy (Phantom Power) by unplugging cell phone chargers, TVs, and computers when you’re not using them.
  • Walk, bike, use the subway, ride the tram, bus or commute to easily save more than $100 per month on gas.
  • Leave your wallet when you head out so you won’t be tempted to grab coffee or go on a mini shopping trip.
  • Save at least $500 a year by canceling cable TV and switching to alternatives like Netflix which costs $8 per month.
  • Buy items in bulk to save money on unit price.
  • Sleep, exercise, and eat healthy to prevent incurring expensive medical bills.
  • Reduce impulse purchases by sticking to a shopping list when going to the grocery store.
  • Save spare change in a piggy bank.
  • Eat in, not out.

Note: You can add more to these tips. Be creative. When reducing your monthly expenses, focus on every possible angle and don’t leave any stones unturned.

Step 5 – Test Run, Rinse, and Repeat

The rubber meets the road here…

Time to test your new set of acquired skills. Use this effective testing template:

  • Month 1: Apply steps 1 to 3 every day
  • Month 2: Apply steps 2 – 5 every day

What happens after Month 2?

Tweak your progress and repeat. From the second month onward, two things can happen.

It’s either you fail to act and end up back in square one or you commit to applying all steps and save half of your income or more.

Final Thoughts

Being broke sucks, particularly when you know you are throwing money away.

But simple changes to the way you spend can have dramatic effects on your saving habits. Just imagine ending up with every dollar saved at the end of the month.

Imagine waking up every day with absolute financial freedom that comes from being penny-wise. Think about being able to afford that nice Mercedes or that chateau in Cannes or perhaps, that comfy corner couch you have been interested in for a while now.

Remember, success is the gradual realization of a worthy ideal.

To begin your successful journey, apply the first and second techniques above, starting now. Commit to practicing the rest of the process every day, for the next few weeks. Keep track, make changes, and improve as you go along.

You could be saving half of income or more next month.

See Also: HSA or FSA: Which One Do You Really Need To Maximize Your Savings?

The post Saving Half of Income: 5 Steps to Effortlessly Save Money Every Month appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

To everyone arguing 2019 isn’t *really* the end of the decade: Please, shut up

To everyone arguing 2019 isn't *really* the end of the decade: Please, shut up

Out of all the hills you could choose to die on in these, the final days of 2019, please do not be one of the people currently yelling on the internet about how it’s not the end of the decade, actually.

In the words of the Dude, you’re not wrong. You’re just an asshole.

Well, asshole might be a bit strong. But this insistence is smug and unnecessary; its energy is half Scrooge, half reply guy. As a child, you probably thought “YOUR EPIDERMIS IS SHOWING” was the funniest joke in the world. As an adult, you probably correct other adults when they rejoice in the first day of a new season on the first of September instead of the 21st. (Either is fine.) Read more…

More about New Year S Eve, 2020, Culture, and Web Culture

Indian tech startups raised a record $14.5B in 2019

Indian tech startups have never had it so good.

Local tech startups in the nation raised $14.5 billion in 2019, beating their previous best of $10.5 billion last year, according to research firm Tracxn .

Tech startups in India this year participated in 1,185 financing rounds — 459 of those were Series A or later rounds — from 817 investors.

Early stage startups — those participating in angel or pre-Series A financing round — raised $6.9 billion this year, easily surpassing last year’s $3.3 billion figure, according to a report by venture debt firm InnoVen Capital.

According to InnoVen’s report, early stage startups that have typically struggled to attract investors saw a 22% year-over-year increase in the number of financing deals they took part in this year. Cumulatively, at $2.6 million, their valuation also increased by 15% from last year.

Also in 2019, 128 startups in India got acquired, four got publicly listed, and nine became unicorns. This year, Indian tech startups also attracted a record number of international investors, according to Tracxn.

This year’s fundraise further moves the nation’s burgeoning startup space on a path of steady growth.

Since 2016, when tech startups accumulated just $4.3 billion — down from $7.9 billion the year before — flow of capital has increased significantly in the ecosystem. In 2017, Indian startups raised $10.4 billion, per Tracxn.

“The decade has seen an impressive 25x growth from a tiny $550 million in 2010 to $14.5 billion in 2019 in terms of the total funding raised by the startups,” said Tracxn.

What’s equally promising about Indian startups is the challenges they are beginning to tackle today, said Dev Khare, a partner at VC fund Lightspeed Venture Partners, in a recent interview to TechCrunch.

In 2014 and 2015, startups were largely focused on building e-commerce solutions and replicating ideas that worked in Western markets. But today, they are tackling a wide-range of categories and opportunities and building some solutions that have not been attempted in any other market, he said.

Tracxn’s analysis found that lodging startups raised about $1.7 billion this year — thanks to Oyo alone bagging $1.5 billion, followed by logistics startups such as Elastic Run, Delhivery, and Ecom Express that secured $641 million.

176 horizontal marketplaces, more than 150 education learning apps, over 160 fintech startups, over 120 trucking marketplaces, 82 ride-hailing services, 42 insurance platforms, 33 used car listing providers, and 13 startups that are helping businesses and individuals access working capital secured funding this year. Fintech startups alone raised $3.2 billion this year, more than startups operating in any other category, Tracxn told TechCrunch.

The investors

Sequoia Capital, with more than 50 investments — or co-investments — was the most active venture capital fund for Indian tech startups this year. (Rajan Anandan, former executive in charge of Google’s business in India and Southeast Asia, joined Sequoia Capital India as a managing director in April.) Accel, Tiger Global Management, Blume Ventures, and Chiratae Ventures were the other top four VCs.

Steadview Capital, with nine investments in startups including ride-hailing service Ola, education app Unacademy, and fintech startup BharatPe, led the way among private equity funds. General Atlantic, which invested in NoBroker and recently turned profitable edtech startup Byju’s, invested in four startups. FMO, Sabre Partners India, and CDC Group each invested in three startups.

Venture Catalysts, with over 40 investments including in HomeCapital and Blowhorn, was the top accelerator or incubator in India this year. Y Combinator, with over 25 investments, Sequoia Capital’s Surge, Axilor Ventures, and Techstars were also very active this year.

Indian tech startups also attracted a number of direct investments from top corporates and banks this year. Goldman Sachs, which earlier this month invested in fintech startup ZestMoney, overall made eight investments this year. Among others, Facebook made its first investment in an Indian startup — social-commerce firm Meesho and Twitter led a $100 million financing round in local social networking app ShareChat.

Snapchat will launch Bitmoji TV, a personalized cartoon show

Snapchat’s most popular yet under-exploited feature is finally getting the spotlight in 2020. Starting in February with a global release, your customizable Bitmoji avatar will become the star of a full-motion cartoon series called Bitmoji TV. It’s a massive evolution for Bitmoji beyond the chat stickers and comic strip-style Stories where they were being squandered to date.

Creating original in-house shows for its Discover section that can’t be copied could help Snapchat differentiate from the plethora of short-form video platforms out there ranging from YouTube to Facebook Watch to TikTok. Bitmoji TV could also up the quality of Discover, which still feels like a tabloid magazine rack full of scantly clad women, gross-out imagery, and other shocking content merely meant to catch the eye and draw a click.

With Bitmoji TV, your avatar and those of your friends will appear in regularly-scheduled adventures ranging from playing the crew of Star Treky spaceship to being secret agents to falling in love with robots or becoming zombies. The trailer Snapchat released previews an animation style reminiscent of Netflix’s Big Mouth.

TechCrunch asked Snap for more details, including how long episodes will be, how often they’ll be released, whether they’ll include ads, and if the company acquired anyone or brought on famous talent to produce the series. A Snap spokesperson declined to provide more details, but sent over this statement: “Bitmoji TV isn’t available in your network yet, but stay tuned for the global premiere soon!”

The Snapchat Show page for Bitmoji TV notes it is coming in February 2020. Users can visit here on mobile to subscribe to Bitmoji TV so it shows up prominently on their Discover page, or turn on notifications about its new content.

Snap realizes Bitmoji’s value

Snap has had a tough few years as many of its core features have been ruthlessly copied by the Facebook family of apps. Instagram Stories killed Snap’s growth for years and effectively stole the broadcast medium from its inventor. Facebook also ramped up it augmented reality selfie filters, added more ephemeral messaging features, and launched Watch as a competitor to Snapchat Discover.

Two years ago I wrote that Facebook was crazy not to be competing with Bitmoji too. Six months later we were first to report Facebook Avatars was in the works, and this year they launched as Messenger chat stickers in Australia with plans for a global release in 2019 or early 2020. But Facebook’s slow movement here, Google’s half-assed entry, and Twitter’s lack of an attempt have given Snapchat’s Bitmoji a massive headstart. And now Snap is finally leveraging it.

“TV” is actually a return to Bitmoji’s roots. The startup Bitstrips originally offered an app for customizing the face, hair, clothes, and more of your avatar and then creating comic strips for them to appear in. Snap acquired Bitstrips back in 2016 for just $64.2 million — a steal not far off from Facebook snatching Instagram for under a billion. The standalone Bitmoji app blew up as soon as Snapchat began offering the avatars as chat stickers. It had over 330 million downloads as of April according to Sensor Tower despite Snapchat now letting you create your avatar in its main app.

Eventually, Snap began expanding Bitmoji’s uses. In 2017 Bitmoji went 3D and you could start overlaying them as augmented reality characters on your Snaps. The next year Snap improved their graphics, then launched the Snap Kit developer platform and Bitmoji Kit. This allows apps to build atop Snapchat login and use your Bitmoji as a profile pic. Soon they were appearing as Fitbit smart watch faces, alongside your Venmo transaction, and on Snapchat-sold merchandise from t-shirts to mugs. It’s part of a wise strategy to beat copycats by allowing allies to use real thing rather than building their own knock-off. That’s fueled the “Snapback” comeback which has seen Snap’s share price climb out of the gutter at $5.79 at the start of 2019 to $16.09 now.

One of Snap smartest innovations was Bitmoji Stories — the ancestor to Bitmoji TV. These daily Stories let you tap frame-by-frame through short comic strip-style interactions starring your avatar. Occasionally Bitmoji Stories would include rudimentary animation, but most frames were still images with text bubbles. Bitmoji could once again drive a narrative, rather than just being a communication tool. Still, they seem underutilized.

In 2019, Snapchat wised up. Bitmoji have become nearly ubiquitous amongst teens and Snapchat’s 210 million daily users. They’re the Google or Kleenex of cartoonish personalized avatars. Their goofy nature is also a perfect fit for Snapchat, and a reason they’re tough for stiffer and older tech giants to convincingly copy.

In April, Snap announced its new games platform inside its messaging feature that let you play as your Bitmoji against friends’ avatars in games ranging from Mario Party ripoff Bitmoji Party to tennis, shoot-em ups, and cooking competitions. Snap injects ads into the games, making Bitmoji key to its efforts to monetize its central messaging use case. Last month it launched custom and branded clothing for Bitmoji, which could open opportunities to earn money selling premium outfits or showing off brand sponsorships.

To truly take advantage of Bitmoji’s unique popularity, though, Snap needed to build longer-form experiences with the avatars at the center that . Stickers and Stories and games were fun, but none felt like must-see content. With Bitmoji TV, Snap may have found a way to get users to drag their friends into the app. Since everyone sees their own Bitmoji as the star, the cartoons could be more compelling then ones with impersonal characters you might find elsewhere around the web.

But Bitmoji TV’s success will depend largely on the quality of the writing. If your avatar is constantly getting into funny, meme-worthy situations, you’ll keep coming back to watch. But Snap’s teen audience has a keen nose for inauthentic bullsh*t. If the Shows feel forced, too childish, or boring, Bitmoji TV will flop. Snap would be savvy to invest in great Hollywood talent to produce the episodes.

High quality Bitmoji TV shorts could rescue Snapchat Discover from its own mediocrity. There are a few strong brands like ESPN SportsCenter on the platform, and Snap has several original Shows with over 25 million unique viewers. It’s also greenlit additional seasons of Shows like Dead Girls Detective Agency and new biopic clips from Serena Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Still, a scroll through the Discover and Shows sections reveals plenty of trashy clickbait that surely scares away premium advertisers.

Bitmoji TV could offer video that’s not only fun and snackable, but out of reach for competitors who don’t have a scaled avatar platform of their own. As with the recent launch of Snapchat Cameos, the company has realized that the most addictive experiences center on its users’ own faces. Snapchat turned the selfie into the future of communication. Bitmoji TV could make an animated recreation of your selfie into the future of content.

Greta Thunberg nails the #2019in5words challenge

Greta Thunberg nails the #2019in5words challenge

It might seem difficult to sum up an entire year using only five words, but Greta Thunberg completed the task with ease.

Inspired by #2019in5words, the latest end of year hashtag to trend on Twitter, the 16-year-old climate activist tweeted one of her most powerful quotes: “Our house is on fire.”

Our house is on fire.#2019in5words

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 28, 2019

Thunberg spoke those five words at Davos 2019 earlier this year when delivering a blunt climate warning to a room full of the world’s most powerful leaders.

The teen’s actions in 2019 have not only gotten her named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, but they’ve inspired many people, including actress and activist Jane Fonda, to fight the dire climate crisis that’s facing our planet head on. Read more…

More about Twitter, Climate Change, Greta Thunberg, Culture, and Web Culture

Don Imus, Legendary ‘Imus in the Morning’ Host, Dies at 79

The controversial radio personality passed away on Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas.

Don Imus, the radio personality whose insult humor and savage comedy catapulted him to a long-lasting and controversial career, has died at 79. His three-hour radio program, Imus in the Morning, was widely popular, especially with the over 25-male demographic.

Imus died Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, after being hospitalized on Christmas Eve, a representative said. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Mike and the Mad Dog host Mike Francesca tweeted Friday, “Shocking news on the passing of my friend, Don Imus. He will long be remembered as one of the true giants in the history of radio.”

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough added, “Morning Joe obviously owes its format to Don Imus. No one else could have gotten away with that much talk on cable news. Thanks for everything, Don.” Morning Joe started as a fill-in for Imus in the Morning after Imus was fired from MSNBC in 2007.

Imus in the Morning, which debuted on WNBC-AM in New York in 1971, most recently reached radio listeners via Citadel Media and was simulcast on the Fox Business Network.

Imus was loved or hated for his caustic loudmouth. Outspoken in an age of political correctness, his often coarse satire offended sensibilities. Yet his listeners included those whom he often ridiculed. His call-in guests included President Clinton, Dan Rather, Tim Russert, Bill Bradley, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani and political analyst Jeff Greenfield, who once remarked, “He’s out there talking the way most of us talk when we’re not in public.”

He sparked national outcry in 2007 when he made derogatory, racist remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. CBS Radio and MSNBC then dropped his show. 

He rebounded by signing a multiyear contract with the Fox Business Network in 2009 to simulcast Imus in the Morning from 6-9 a.m., with Fox anchors appearing during the program.

Imus battled a lifelong addiction to drugs and alcohol. In 2009, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. 

Imus was often compared to syndicated shock jock Howard Stern, who also had a stint on WNBC radio early in his career, and they frequently appeared on each other’s shows. Although Imus could not match Stern’s audience in terms of numbers, advertisers were well aware of Imus’ better-educated and richer demographic, often preferring him.  

Imus in the Morning sandwiched music around his in-your-face commentary in which he mocked authority figures and ridiculed social and political problems. His no-holds-barred humor, including gags and pranks, spurred the onset of “shock jocks” like Stern. A mix of rock ’n’ roll, raunchy humor, call-ins and hard barbs, Imus in the Morning was a huge hit.  

He also performed stand-up for a time, garnering favorable reviews from such unlikely reviewers as The New York Times

An active philanthropist, Imus and his wife, Deirdre, founded the Imus Ranch in 1999, where each summer children with cancer could enjoy the outdoors.

John Donald Imus Jr., was born on July 23, 1940, in Riverside, California. He was raised in Prescott, Arizona, where his family owned a large ranch. He dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Marines and after basic training won a chair in the band.

Following discharge, he worked at an array of odd jobs: window dresser (he was fired for staging mannequin striptease shows), uranium miner and railroad brakeman, where he suffered a serious neck injury and won a large cash settlement.

While recovering, he set his sights on becoming a disc jockey, ostensibly to play his own music on the airwaves. He moved to Los Angeles, enrolled in a Hollywood broadcasting school and landed his first deejay job at KUTY, a station in Palmdale, California. 

During an eight-month stint there, he developed a skill for comic patter and moved to KJOY in Stockton, California, where he staged satirical social and political gags, including an Eldridge Cleaver look-alike contest when the Black Panther was on the lam. His station manager did not see the humor, and he was fired.

He moved to KXOA in Sacramento, where his satirical hijinks were appreciated by the station manager who counseled him that his humor would be more lethal and less likely to attract legal action. Intent on becoming more lethal, Imus created a slew of satirical characters, including the huckster Rev. Billy Sol Hargus.  

His on-air antics infuriated authorities, including the FCC, which was not amused when he phoned a fast-food outlet and ordered 1,200 hamburgers and requested a bizarre array of toppings. The gag resulted in a ruling that deejays must identify themselves when making on-air calls. The clash with government authority, not surprisingly, boosted his ratings, and KXOA was No. 1 in Sacramento while he was there.

Imus is survived by his wife, Deirdre; sons Wyatt and Lt. Zachary Don Cates; and daughters Nadine, Ashley, Elizabeth and Toni.

“Don loved and adored Deirdre, who unconditionally loved him back, loved spending his time watching Wyatt become a highly skilled, champion rodeo rider and calf roper and loved and supported Zachary, who first met the Imus family at age 10 when he participated in the Imus Ranch program for kids with cancer, having battled and overcome leukemia, eventually becoming a member of the Imus family and Don and Deirdre’s second son,” his family said in a statement.

The family will hold a private service in the coming days and asks for donations to be made to the Imus Ranch Foundation.

Have a Tesla over-the-air update disaster? Try these reboots.

Have a Tesla over-the-air update disaster? Try these reboots.

Christmas came early for Tesla owners with a “holiday” update that added new features and tools to the software system controlling the electric vehicles. 

But with new features like more voice commands, TRAX music-making, Twitch video streaming, Camp Mode, and new games like Stardew Valley and backgammon comes the inevitable errant Tesla whose computer just won’t update.  

Tesla with its screen-based driving system is known for its quick and painless over-the-air updates. It’s similar to downloading and installing a new operating system on a smartphone. While connected to your WiFi, the car downloads and updates to a new version in about 30 minutes, bringing a slew of new features and changes to the driving experience. But sometimes things get sticky.  Read more…

More about Tesla, Tech, and Transportation

Revenue train kept rolling all year long for Salesforce

Salesforce turned 20 this year, and the most successful pure enterprise SaaS company ever showed no signs of slowing down. Consider that the company finished the year on an $18 billion run rate, rushing toward its 2022 revenue goal of $20 billion. Oh, and it also spent a tidy $15.7 billion to buy Tableau this year in the most high-profile and expensive acquisition it’s ever made.

Co-founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff published a book called Trailblazer about running a socially responsible company, and made the rounds promoting it. In fact, he even stopped by TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in September, telling the audience that capitalism as we know it is dead. Still, the company announced it was building two more towers in Sydney and Dublin.

It also promoted Bret Taylor just last week, who could be in line as heir apparent to Benioff and co-CEO Keith Block whenever they decide to retire. The company closed the year with a bang with a $4.5 billion quarter. Salesforce, for the most part, has somehow been able to balance Benioff’s vision of responsible capitalism while building a company makes money in bunches, one that continues to grow and flourish, and that’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

All aboard the gravy train

The company just keeps churning out good quarters. Here’s what this year looked like:

How to Create Facebook Video Ads in Minutes: Tips For Beginners

Facebook video ads are an essential part of any business’ social media toolkit. According to Wyzowl, people recall just 20% of the information they read compared to 80% when info is presented in more visual formats. This largely explains the rise of self-directed learning on Youtube.

We’re at an age where every marketer knows videos are important. But not every marketer knows yet that videos are surprisingly easy to make. You might think good video content requires professional gear, complex software, and a big budget — but that’s not the case.

It’s true that making a video ad used to mean hiring a scriptwriter, director, actors, and camera crew — then paying for professional editing on top of that. But advances in technology have changed all that. There are now very simple and inexpensive ways you can do that.

Here how to create Facebook video ads in minutes:

how to create facebook video ads

Take advantage of stock footage and audio

One of the simplest ways to get great content is to use what others have already created. Using stock video footage allows you to include imagery in your video that would be difficult to film yourself.

Say you want a sweeping aerial shot of mountains in your video. Getting that shot yourself would be very difficult and expensive. But if someone else has already filmed it and made it available as stock footage, you can pay a small fee and use it in your own video ad. Most stock video libraries will allow you to search by keywords to quickly find what you’re after.

You might be surprised to know that it’s not the only deadline and budget-driven marketers who use stock media. Even major film studios use stock footage to save time and money.

You can blend stock footage with content you create yourself or even make your entire video from stock by editing various scenes together.

The same goes for stock audio and music. Getting the right to commercially-released music is very expensive and so is hiring a composer. But with stock music, you can add great background music to your video without paying too much.

Use ready-made templates

If you want to create videos very quickly, you can also try using a Facebook video ad template. Templates are helpful because they give you a general outline to fit your content into. These will usually come pre-loaded with stock video and audio, which you can keep or replace, as well as spaces to add your own text.

For example, you could use this travel ad template or this ready-made cafe ad and replace the stock footage provided with original content you’ve shot for your business.

You could also try a dedicated Facebook video ad maker. This will provide you with a simple drag-and-drop interface – just choose stock video and audio that work for your business then add your own text.

Edit your video online

If you are going to use your own video content, it’s helpful to have some basic editing tools on hand. Access to a good editor is helpful because it means you don’t need to nail everything in one take. You can quickly trim down scenes to get the timing right and edit together multiple takes.

There’s plenty of complex and expensive editing software out there but all you need for simple Facebook video ads is a free online editor. With a good editor, you can put together a video and send it straight to your account from the editor.

It may take a little practice, but it’s pretty easy to get the basic editing techniques for making your video content look great.

How to Create Facebook Video Ads That Work

create facebook video ads

It’s one thing to put a video together but another to create effective content. Here are some tips on how to create Facebook video ads that work:

  1. Ensure your videos are exported in the right file type and size to play easily on Facebook. Check out Facebook’s guidelines for video ads, and always ensure your content is optimized for mobile devices as that’s probably where it will be seen.
  2. Keep your videos short – 15-60 seconds is a good general guide. It’s hard enough to grab people’s attention on social media; don’t push your luck once you do.
  3. Mention your brand early – ideally in the first 3 seconds – and make sure your logo or company name also appears on the screen visually, not just in the audio. More than 85% of Facebook users watch videos without sound!
  4. Speaking of soundless videos, ensure your ad has subtitles and text so people can engage with it even if they don’t turn on the sound. This is also a reason to include good music – if people do turn the sound on, they should be rewarded!
  5. Your videos shouldn’t look sloppy but you also don’t want something overly polished. People aren’t on social media looking for slick ads. So go for good, authentic content that adds value to people’s scrolling experience and just happens to also boost your brand.

Get your video in front of the right people

Don’t forget to target your ad when it’s time to share it on Facebook. You can customize the audience for your ad according to location, age, gender, languages, interests, behaviors, and even connections.

Follow those guidelines and start putting video ads together and you’ll start to see great results. Whether you’re starting off with simple templates or editing a mini-masterpiece, online videos should be a key part of your online promotional strategy.

See Also: 8 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Facebook Advertising

The post How to Create Facebook Video Ads in Minutes: Tips For Beginners appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Here’s Chris Evans’ dog in a white sweater. You are welcome.

Here's Chris Evans' dog in a white sweater. You are welcome.

What could possibly be better than Chris Evans in the lush, luxe, off-white cable-knit sweater that broke the internet?

The matching version worn by his dog.

The sweater heard round the world — or, specifically, by someone sitting next to Mashable’s Nicole Gallucci at a screening of Knives Out during a moment of pure and overwhelming thirst, captured in a viral tweet — inspired waves of fans wearing similar items to screenings. 

Evans’ Knives Out character Ransom Drysdale may have been less than wholesome, but in our divided era, at least everyone can agree that Chris Evans wore the shit out of that knit. Read more…

More about Dogs, Chris Evans, Sweater, Knives Out, and Entertainment

Wikimedia Foundation expresses deep concerns about India’s proposed intermediary liability rules

Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit group that operates Wikipedia and a number of other projects, has urged the Indian government to rethink the proposed changes to the nation’s intermediary liability rules that would affect swathes of companies and the way more than half a billion people access information online.

The organization has also urged the Indian government to make public the latest proposed changes to the intermediary rules so that all stakeholders have a chance to participate in a “robust and informed debate about how the internet should be governed in India.”

India proposed changes to intermediary rules (PDF) in late December last year and it is expected to approve it in the coming months. Under the proposal, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT requires “intermediary” apps — which as per its definition, includes any service with more than 5 million users — to set up a local office and have a senior executive in the nation who can be held responsible for any legal issues.

Amanda Keton, general counsel of Wikimedia Foundation, said on Thursday that India’s proposed changes to the intermediary rules may have serious impact on Wikipedia’s business — as it operates an open editing model that relies on users to contribute new articles and make changes to existing articles on Wikipedia — as well as those of other organizations.

The rules may also create a “significant financial burden” for nonprofit technology organizations and impede free expression rights for internet users in India, she said. Wikimedia Foundation conveyed its concerns to Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister of Electronics and IT in India. The company also published the letter on its blog for the world to see.

India’s latest changes to intermediary rules, which have been drafted to make the internet a safer experience for local residents, also require intermediaries to deploy automated tools “for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content.”

The proposed changes have raised concerns for many. In a joint letter (PDF) earlier this year, Mozilla, Microsoft’s GitHub and Wikimedia had cautioned the Indian government that requiring intermediaries to proactively purge their platforms of unlawful content “would upend the careful balance set out in the existing law which places liability on the bad actors who engage in illegal activities, and only holds companies accountable when they know of such acts.”

The groups also cautioned that drafted measures “would significantly expand surveillance requirements on internet services.” Several trade bodies in India, that represent a number of major firms including Google and Facebook, have also suggested major changes to the proposal.

In the open letter published today, Wikimedia’s Keton reiterated several of those concerns, adding that “neither participants in the consultation nor the public have seen a new draft of these rules since [last year].” She also requested the government to redefine, how it has in another recently proposed set of rules, the way it classifies an entity as an intermediary as the current version seems to have far-reaching scope.

India is the fifth largest market for Wikipedia — more than 771 million users from the country visited the online encyclopaedia last month. Wikimedia has run several programs in India to invite people to expand the online encyclopaedia in Indic languages.

Keton urged the government to rethink the requirement to bring “traceability” on online communication, as doing so would interfere with the ability of Wikipedia contributors to freely participate in the project. (On the point of traceability, WhatsApp has said complying to such requirement would compromise encryption for every user.)

5 Strategies for Overcoming Self-Doubt

We all have moments of self-doubt.

Whether you’re giving a presentation at work or moving to a foreign country, it’s impossible to escape the little voice in your head that questions your decisions. Not all self-doubt is bad though. Self-doubt can help identify areas that we need to improve. The problem arises when you live in constant state of self-loathing.

In this article, we offer 5 strategies for overcoming self-doubt.

Observe your self-doubt through meditation

beat self doubt

Understanding self-doubt requires an ability to observe our own internal monologue and behaviors. The objective of self-analysis is to look inwards in a constructive way, without being too hard on ourselves.

Meditation is a helpful practice for learning to observe your thoughts without judgment. Set aside just 5 minutes everyday to watch the ebb and flow of your thoughts. The trick is to learn how to detach from your thoughts instead of constantly identifying with them.
The more you practice meditation, the easier this process of detachment will become.

Check out the Headspace app if you are looking for an easy way to get started with meditation.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Take action and learn by doing

The Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh once said:

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

Sometimes our thoughts of self-doubt can cripple us from taking action. When in doubt we suggest to take action! You might stumble, but that’s better than doing nothing.

Each mistake is a learning opportunity and each mini-milestone builds confidence. So next time you catch yourself mired in self- doubt, ask yourself “What actions am I avoiding to take right now?” and then take them.

Identify and overcome limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs are those entrenched modes of thinking that prevent us from getting what we want. Because they run deep into our psyches, and are often formed in early childhood, limiting beliefs can be hard to identify.

A good example of a limiting belief is “People like me never end up rich.” Journaling is a great way to start to identify your limiting beliefs. Try writing for 10 minutes in a journal every day and start to observe the themes that emerge. Once you begin to identify your most common self-limiting beliefs, write them into a list.

Now, write a new list of positive statements to replace the negative ones. For example, “I believe in my abilities, and can make good money doing what I do.”

Be kind to yourself

Kindness and compassion are great antidotes to insecurity and self-doubt. Talk to yourself in the same way that you would talk to a close friend.

Be honest, compassionate, and encouraging.

Avoid self-judgment and focus on empathy instead. Try writing yourself a positive and encouraging message on a post-it note. Stick it somewhere you will see it every day and refresh the message every week with positive self-affirmations to keep you inspired.

Nourish your body and mind

beating self doubt thru food

Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between mental health and a well-balanced diet.

Make sure to get plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, legumes, seafood, nuts and plant-based fats. If you are experiencing a low and stressful moment, you could also consider adding adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha or a supplement like L-Tyrosine.
Some studies suggest that Ashwagandha helps ease anxiety and L-tyrosine has been shown to improve concentration and attention during stressful periods.

See Also: Eating Mindfully: What It Is and What It Can Do To Your Body

The bottom line

Self-doubt should be seen as a normal and necessary part of self-improvement. However, it needs to be thoughtfully managed. As you begin to develop the right tools and understanding on how to beat self-doubt, you’ll have more confidence to take on life’s obstacles with a feeling of excitement rather than anxiety.

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