5 Reasons Why Twitter Video Will Win

February 22, 2015
It looks like Twitter has completed a seamless integration of Vine into the original Twitter interface, and it’s mind numbingly easy.

Read More:http://www.socialmediatoday.com

4 Steps to Get Business Results from Your Content Marketing Strategy

Does your content marketing strategy tie to your business goals? What about your customers’ goals? This four-step guide shows you how to take a sound content marketing strategy through to measurement via great planning and execution. Continue reading

The post 4 Steps to Get Business Results from Your Content Marketing Strategy appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

Read More:http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/?p=46241

Why Samsung Design Stinks

3042408-inline-i-2-why-samsung-design-stinksBlame Steve Jobs Syndrome.

Kevin Lee calls it “Steve Jobs Syndrome.” As the former head of product strategy and user experience design at Samsung Design America, Lee watched as the $100 billion Korean tech giant wrote check after check to countless Western design firms to develop future products for the Korean company. The designers would dig in their heels, refusing to budge on their grand idea or see how it might fit into Samsung’s vast production line. And Samsung management would either discard the idea entirely, or water it down so much that the product became another meaningless SKU in the hundreds of products Samsung sells today.

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Read More:http://www.fastcodesign.com/3042408

IKEA increases sales of sustainable products to an astounding $1 billion

Last year IKEA sold $1.3 billion worth of “sustainability” products to customers across the world, according to the company’s recent sustainability report. These include products that help people reduce waste, save electricity, reduce water use and lead
Read More:http://inhabitat.com/?p=720653

Tattoo Removal Cream is the Answer to Your Regrettable Ink 

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Whether it was the result of a drunken night in Vegas or a souvenir from a traumatic prison stint, tattoos are difficult, expensive, and painful to remove. And while some people choose to tattoo new images over their old tattoos, sometimes tattoos evoke distressing memories they’d much rather have erased from their body entirely. One Canadian student might have developed a cream that would make the entire process a lot easier and a lot less costly.

Alec Falkenham, a researcher and Ph.D. student at Dalhousie University, says his topical ointment will remove tattoos from your body by targetting the cells that retain ink. The cells are called “macrophages” and they remain rooted right beneath the skin. The Bisphosphonate Liposomal Tattoo Removal (BLTR) cream releases liposomes into the skin that then inject cells with a drug that “kills off” the macrophages.

“When comparing it to laser-based tattoo removal, in which you see the burns, the scarring, the blisters, in this case, we’ve designed a drug that doesn’t really have much off-target effect,” he told the CBC. “We’re not targeting any of the normal skin cells, so you won’t see a lot of inflammation. In fact, based on the process that we’re actually using, we don’t think there will be any inflammation at all and it would actually be anti-inflammatory.”

The tattoo removal business grows every year as people who got tattoos decades ago start to realize that their Dawson’s Creek ink doesn’t have quite the same culture relevance as it did in 1999. While laser therapy can cost thousands of dollars, the CBC reports that Falkenham’s cream will cost about $4.50 Canadian per treatment for a 10 by 10 centimeter image. He’s currently testing the formula on tattooed pig ears.

Read More:http://magazine.good.is/posts/tattoo-removal-cream

8 Ways to Decisively End Indecision

In this increasingly more with less business world, we can’t afford to let our employees be more or less checked out.  And yet an astonishing 70% are just that, disengaged at work, according to Gallup polls.  It’s almost impossible not to disengage when toiling in the paralysis of indecision.  It’s hard to imagine anything more meaning and motivation draining, more bereft of a sense of significance, or anything simply more frustrating.


Deciding not to decide has a price. A big one.


It can create doubt, uncertainty, lack of focus, and even resentment.  Multiple options can linger, sapping an organization’s energy and killing a sense of completion.  Timelines stretch while costs skyrocket.


But none of us are indecisive on purpose.  We’re not evil.  Indecision can be borne from a pragmatic desire for more data, which when overdone can cross over into perfectionism.  Some of us are unwilling to compromise until we see an option that contains no trade-offs. The failure of a deciding body to feel a sense of accountability can grind things to a halt.  Fear of making a wrong decision can come into play as well.  We can lose sight of what the objective behind a decision is in the first place, confusing ourselves in the process and overcomplicating the choice to be made.   Some of us lack confidence to make a firm decision.


Whatever the cause, the corrosive effect is inescapable.  As leaders, we can do better.  Here’s how to put an end to indecision, with authority.


  1. Meter your emotions

Sometimes our emotions can get in the way of making a decision, causing us to gloss over facts right in front of us or creating a desperate search for information to support the decision we really want to make.  Countering indecision may require accepting inevitabilities much sooner while refusing to let emotions cloud the realities at hand.


  1. Step back and evaluate the true impact of a wrong decision

Fear of making an incorrect decision can paralyze the well-meaning manager.  At such times, step back and ask “What is the worst thing that could happen in the long run if this decision turns out to be wrong?”  Such a question may unveil that the consequences aren’t that dire after all, and may well net much more decisiveness. Getting comfortable with the possibility of being wrong can actually help the right decisions happen faster.


  1. Consider the risks/costs of not doing something

Asking the question, “What are the risks/costs of not making a decision?” may create awareness of the pitfalls that would otherwise be glossed over.  It may become obvious that budgets will run over, competitors will gain precious time for counter plans, or that resources will have to be further stretched and kept from working on some other priority.


  1. Act with self-assurance

Acting with self-confidence and a “you have to break some eggs to make an omelet” mindset is one of the greatest enablers for making a decision.  Self-doubt or worrying about what others expect you to decide can cripple a decision in progress.  Self-confidence helps bolster the internal fortitude to make the tough calls, as well as the external reception of the decision once made.  Ever watch someone arrive at a decision, but they do so in a manner riddled with visible self-doubt?  These are the decisions most unlikely to stick.


  1. Rediscover the plot

Sometimes simply stepping back and getting some distance from a problem and refreshing yourself on the importance or objective of a decision to be made can be tremendously helpful.  What seemed like a huge call to be made might reorient itself and shrink vastly in size.  Revisiting the objective behind  the decision to be made may provide a useful reorientation and illuminate a very clear choice amongst a set of options.  And granting some time, space, and distance can help the fog of being too close to clear, making way for a re-energized and decisive point of view to emerge.


  1. Don’t vacillate in a vacuum, step back & seek advice

Indecision can arise from the constant rehashing of the same set of data, input, or experiences.  Therefore, indecision can be conquered with exposure to new perspective from other stakeholders or from someone not as close to the decision.  Having someone else to play devil’s advocate, counter your biases, and bring different experiences to the table can help break the stalemate.


  1. Set time bound parameters for making the call

When left to our own device, it is only natural for us to take as much time as we can to decide something. Establishing tension in the form of time limitations can help stimulate decision making.  Concrete, time bound parameters (with some teeth to them) can force the perfectionist or those who want it all to compromise and let go a bit.


  1. Sharp discussions net sharp decisions

We’ve all been in meetings where a decision is supposed to be made but in fact you are left with no sense of tangible forward progress.  The discussion seems circular, someone hijacks the meeting and launches into an unfocused or politically motivated soliloquy, or everyone and anyone jumps in with points that aren’t even fully on topic.  Free-for-alls like this distract the decider and throw the decision making process off course.  The deciding manager needs to be prepared to run a disciplined and pointed meeting that drives towards a decision by asking the right questions, controlling the discussion flow, reigning in where necessary, and expanding discussion where appropriate to get all the information, options, and points of view out on the table.



Scott Mautz is author of Make It Matter: How Managers Can Motivate by Creating Meaning (March 4th, 2015), an award winning keynote speaker,  and a 20+ year veteran of Procter & Gamble, having run several thriving, multi-billion dollar divisions along the way.  Connect with Scott at www.makeitmatterbook.com.


Read More:http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/greatleadershipbydan/gfUp/~3/0iEzgn8_r7Q/8-ways-to-decisively-end-indecision.html

Think your annual bonus is pretty good? This Chinese startup is giving its employees Teslas

The Chinese lunar New Year is just around the corner. Around this time, expectations among Chinese office workers are high in anticipation of the traditional year-end bonus. For most workers, it’s a pleasant extra, not a windfall.

But what if the incentive for this year takes the form of a car — specifically, a Tesla?

It may seem like a daydream, but this is exactly what is happening to the employees of WiFi Master Key (our translation), a startup backed by Chinese game developer and publisher Shanda. The firm is handing out a surprisingly generous year-end bonus this year by rewarding every member of staff with more than four months at the company with a Tesla.

A company representative disclosed that dozens out of the fifty current employees will receive this reward, but declined to name the specific number. It will cost the startup more than RMB30 million (US$4.8 million) in total, at current prices (RMB734,000 for the Model S) in the Chinese market. The first batch of eight employees received the cars last week. The electric car manufacturer also confirmed the news.

Growing out of Shanda’s Innovation Institute, WiFi Key Master is a mobile app that automatically connects your devices to public Wi-Fi networks when in range. The app claimed more than 500 million users as of the end of September last year, and 230 million monthly active users. It claims to have free access to 120 million Wi-Fi hotspots across China.

“Talent is the key determinant for the success of high-tech companies. Through this move, we want to show how much we value and respect our talent,” said Chen Danian, the startup’s founder (and twin brother of Shanda CEO Chen Tianqiao).

In recent years, China’s booming Internet companies have given lavish year-end compensation to employees in a bid to keep them motivated, retain their best workers amid tough competition for talent, as well as to display the company’s exuberance.

This trend is led by the Chinese IT triumvirate known as the BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Baidu’s bonus pool hit a record this year, with one top performer getting a bonus equivalent to 50 months’ salary. One Alibaba employee showed off online, saying his bonus was worth more than 100 months’ pay. Tencent has yet to distribute its year-end bonuses, but it’s rumored that staff at its gaming unit received a 68-month bonus last year.

Internet companies topped China’s year-end bonus list with an average reward of RMB39,873 last year. Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing took the three top spots with average bonuses of RMB8523, RMB8235 and RMB7855 respectively, according to a recent survey by PXC.

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

This story originally appeared on TechNode.

Read More:http://venturebeat.com/?post_type=vb_syndicated&p=1662466

US wireless carriers now legally have to unlock our phones

After two years behind bars and a whole lot of petition-signing, US mobile phone owners have regained their gadgets’ freedom: we now have the ability to legally unlock our phones and take them to whatever network carrier has compatible cell towers.

The major US wireless carriers promised to unlock customers’ phones or tablets – as long as we’re done paying for them, that is – beginning on 11 February.

Unlocking new cell phones first became illegalin January 2012.

On 21 February 2013, two days before the deadline to get enough petition signers to trigger the administration into re-examining the issue, 100,000 annoyed people demanded that the right to unlock their phones be restored.

The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act was passed and signed by the President 18 months later, but by that time the telcos had already privately agreed to unlocking.

Not that they had much choice, mind you: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler told the carriers they could either comply with his terms or face regulation.

Here’s part of the wireless industry’s new rules on mobile phone unlocking:

Carriers, upon request, will unlock mobile wireless devices or provide the necessary information to unlock their devices for their customers and former customers in good standing and individual owners of eligible devices after the fulfillment of the applicable postpaid service contract, device financing plan, or payment of applicable early termination fee.

How to react? Let the bells of freedom ring, or muster a slow clap?

Quartz’s Dan Frommer characterizes the new rules as something of a qualified hooray.

But between carrier subsidies and payment plans, most Americans won’t be able to unlock their phones and move to a new carrier until the contract’s up – at which time, we’re most likely ready to upgrade our phones, making it a moot point. If you’ve prepaid your phone, carriers have to unlock it.

Sooner or later, that is (emphasis added):

Carriers, upon request, will unlock prepaid mobile wireless devices no later than one year after initial activation, consistent with reasonable time, payment or usage requirements.

The new rules dictate that the telcos have to notify phone owners when their handsets are eligible for unlocking and respond to requests for how to do it within two working days, so owners of even prepaid phones shouldn’t have to spend the entire year guessing at when they’ll be able to move to a new carrier.

But then too, there’s cell tower compatibility to think about.

Verizon and Sprint are CDMA only, so you’ll need a CDMA-friendly device to use them.

T-Mobile US and AT&T are GSM.

But if you’ve got an iPhone that supports GSM and CDMA, you’re golden: go whither thou wanteth.

Some are, understandably, a bit confused by the news, thinking that it was already legal to unlock once the contract was over. But for a while, it was, at least technically, illegal.

Now, even a carrier like Sprint, which used to refuse unlocks, has to let you go.

Will things change much?

Well, it could be handy to have an unlocked phone for overseas travel or to hand to kids or visitors to use with a prepaid SIM card, for example.

It will also mean that we may see more handsets available when we go shopping at resellers, given that they can unlock handsets before selling them.

More shopping options in the phone store?

Unqualified hooray!

Image of locked phone courtesy of Shutterstock.

Read More:http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/?p=280248

Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It

So, you’ve worked your way up the corporate ladder to become Chief Marketing Officer. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it! All done? Good. Now, please accept my condolences. Your job is obsolete, and unless you turn yourself into a Chief Loyalty Officer, you’re sure to eventually be replaced by one.

Want proof? Look no further than Apple’s record-smashing earnings release last month. We all know the colossus of Cupertino has amazing products and is constantly working on new ways to dazzle and disrupt, from the Apple Watch to Apple Pay. But the earnings report makes clear that intense loyalty to the iPhone– 87% loyalty, to be precise – is what really drives its success. Instinctively, we all know that, because we can all think of someone who pre-orders every new iteration of the iPhone before the shine has faded from the previous one. That kind of extreme loyalty inspires confidence in others, which in turn drives new sales – 74.5 million new phones last quarter – without Apple having to lift a finger. Indeed, aside from a few television spots and billboards here and there, Apple pretty much ignores marketing and advertising.

Of course, not every company is Apple. Letting the products do all the talking won’t work for everyone. But here is the takeaway that can work for every brand: try de-emphasizing traditional marketing and focusing on loyalty instead.

For most people, the word “marketing” summons up a single-minded focus on selling products – a one-sided endeavor. But one-sided doesn’t work in a world where social media has given consumers a megaphone just as powerful as that of traditional marketers.

Instead, there is loyalty, which requires communicating brand values that people want to be affiliated with. Consumers today have many options, and more than ever they choose particular brands to communicate something personal about their own beliefs and priorities. The best way to establish and reinforce common values is to create content that’s so highly specific it defines not only the brand, but the customer.

Take Chipotle, the good guys of fast food. Their produce is local, the meat is free of hormones and antibiotics, and their cheese comes from pasture-raised cows. But the company’s reputation for being the socially conscious, thinking person’s lunch is about more than just the food. Last year, the company started its “Cultivating Thought” initiative, in which writers such as Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell write short texts that appear on the company’s cups and a dedicated microsite. The idea didn’t come out of the CMO’s office, or from a hotshot agency – it came about because Jonathan Safran Foer had nothing to read in Chipotle one day. This is loyalty talking, not marketing. Chipotle is devoting significant resources to something that won’t make the company any money directly, but that is an act of good faith, perfectly targeted to its customers.

J. Crew is another company that successfully uses content to define itself and its customer. The company’s blog is a master class in cozy chic, effortlessly affluent and gently outdoorsy. (If this blog were a person, its favorite activity would be sitting around an outdoor fire on a crisp fall evening, roasting homemade marshmallows on fragrant cedar sticks.) Recently, the blog featured a story about the history of the fisherman’s sweater, a nature photographer’s photo essay about working all over the world in one of the brand’s puffy vests, a how-to guide on caring for cashmere sweaters, and studio tours with designers. The content is beautiful, creative, and most importantly, it has a distinct personality that has nothing to do with shilling.

Customers keep coming back to J. Crew, Chipotle, and Apple because being a loyal fan of the brand reassures them that they are succeeding in being a certain kind of person. People expect convenience from a transaction, but what they crave is meaning. A marketer’s thundering from the top of a mountain like the voice of God will be quickly spotted for what it is – a disconnected jumble of hollow words bouncing along the canyon walls. Building loyalty is much harder work, and it requires not only valuing customers, but liking them enough to have a conversation every day. Bringing passion and excitement to that conversation requires genuine enthusiasm for your own products and mission. The Chief Loyalty Officer’s job isn’t about asking, “What should this company say?” It’s nothing less than answering the question, “What should this company be?”

Alexander Jutkowitz is a vice chairman and the chief global strategist at Hill+Knowlton Strategies and managing partner for the agency’s content subsidiary, Group SJR.


Read More:http://feeds.harvardbusiness.org/~r/harvardbusiness/~3/g6fVeFd38ko/marketing-is-dead-and-loyalty-killed-it

Moscow-Based Security Firm Reveals What May Be The Biggest NSA “Backdoor Exploit” Ever

Since 2001, a group of hackers – dubbed the "Equation Group" by researchers from Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab – have infected computers in at least 42 countries (with Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Syria most infected) with what Ars Technica calls "superhuman technical feats" indicating "extraordinary skill and unlimited resources."

The exploits – including the ‘prized technique’ of the creation of a secret storage vault that survives military-grade disk wiping and reformatting – cover every hard-drive manufacturer and have many similar characteristics to the infamous NSA-led Stuxnet virus.

According to Kaspersky, the spies made a technological breakthrough by figuring out how to lodge malicious software in the obscure code called firmware that launches every time a computer is turned on.


Disk drive firmware is viewed by spies and cybersecurity experts as the second-most valuable real estate on a PC for a hacker, second only to the BIOS code invoked automatically as a computer boots up.


"The hardware will be able to infect the computer over and over," lead Kaspersky researcher Costin Raiu said in an interview.



Kaspersky’s reconstructions of the spying programs show that they could work in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, comprising essentially the entire market. They include Western Digital Corp, Seagate Technology Plc, Toshiba Corp, IBM, Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The group used a variety of means to spread other spying programs, such as by compromising jihadist websites, infecting USB sticks and CDs, and developing a self-spreading computer worm called Fanny, Kasperky said.

Fanny was like Stuxnet in that it exploited two of the same undisclosed software flaws, known as "zero days," which strongly suggested collaboration by the authors, Raiu said. He added that it was "quite possible" that the Equation group used Fanny to scout out targets for Stuxnet in Iran and spread the virus.

Which, as Reuters reports, strongly suggests the "extraordinary skills and unlimited resources" were funded by the NSA…

The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.


That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.


Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said.


The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.


A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.

The global coverage is clearly focused in a particular region (and not in the US)…

As Kasperskey exposes, victims generally fall into the following categories:
•     Governments and diplomatic institutions
•     Telecommunication
•     Aerospace
•     Energy
•     Nuclear research
•     Oil and gas
•     Military
•     Nanotechnology
•     Islamic activists and scholars
•     Mass media
•     Transportation
•     Financial institutions
•     Companies developing cryptographic technologies

As an interesting note, some of the “patients zero” of Stuxnet seem to have been infected by the EQUATION group. It is quite possible that the EQUATION group malware was used to deliver the STUXNET payload.

So far, Kaspersky have identi?ed several malware platforms used exclusively by the Equation group. They are:

EQUATIONDRUG  – A very complex attack platform used by the group on its victims. It supports a module plugin system, which can be dynamically uploaded and unloaded by the attackers.

DOUBLEFANTASY  – A validator-style Trojan, designed to con?rm the target is the intended one. If the target is con?rmed, they get upgraded to a more sophisticated platform such as EQUATIONDRUG or GRAYFISH.




TRIPLEFANTASY – Full-featured backdoor sometimes used in tandem with GRAYFISH. Looks like an upgrade of DOUBLEFANTASY, and is possibly a more recent validator-style plugin.


GRAYFISH  – The most sophisticated attack platform from the EQUATION group. It resides completely in the registry, relying on a bootkit to gain execution at OS startup.

FANNY  – A computer worm created in 2008 and used to gather information about targets in the Middle East and Asia. Some victims appear to have been upgraded ?rst to DoubleFantasy, and then to the EQUATIONDRUG system. Fanny used exploits for two zero-day vulnerabilities which were later discovered with Stuxnet.

EQUATIONLASER  – An early implant from the EQUATION group, used around 2001-2004. Compatible with Windows 95/98, and created sometime between DOUBLEFANTASY and EQUATIONDRUG.

Although the implementation of their malware systems is incredibly complex, surpassing even Regin in sophistication, there is one aspect of the EQUATION group’s attack technologies that exceeds anything Kaspersky has ever seen before.

This is the ability to infect the hard drive ?rmware.

The plugin version 4 is more complex and can reprogram 12 drive “categories”


*  *  *

So to summarize:

1) US sanctions Russia


2) a Russian-based research group (Kaspersky Lab is an international group operating in almost 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company is headquartered in Moscow, Russia, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom. Kaspersky Lab currently employs over 2,850 qualified specialists) reveals that through Equation group’s code, there is NSA presence across the supply chain of the highest margin US products .


3) As Reuters notes, the exposure of these new spying tools could lead to greater backlash against Western technology, particularly in countries such as China, which is already drafting regulations that would require most bank technology suppliers to proffer copies of their software code for inspection.


4) And Peter Swire, one of five members of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, said the Kaspersky report showed that it is essential for the country to consider the possible impact on trade and diplomatic relations before deciding to use its knowledge of software flaws for intelligence gathering. "There can be serious negative effects on other U.S. interests," Swire said.

It appears the ‘boomerang’ is boomerang-ing…

*  *  *

Full Kaspersky Labs report below:

Equation Group Questions and Answers

Read More:http://www.zerohedge.com