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We know a million "likes" won't get Matthew a kidney, but it can raise awareness of the need for LIVE kidney donors. Matthew (Moo Moo) Pietrzyk is 7 years old and needs a kidney (blood type O). His mum donated her kidney to Matthew, but it failed. Now he doesn't have any kidneys as he had his 2nd on...
It’s amazing how slim and light technology has become. From laptops to phones, consumers prefer the manageable designs of thinner devices. Meet the Huawei Ascend P6, which is currently the world’s thinnest smartphone at a width of 6.18 mm. The Chinese-run Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd plans to use this new model to become one of the Top 3 international consumer brands by 2015.
While Samsung has been criticized for using too much plastic in its models, the Ascend P6 is made of metal and glass in the hopes of being more attractive for consumers. With its 4.7-inch screen, the P6 surpasses the iPhone 5 but is still smaller than Samsung Galaxy. If you look at the P6, it appears very similar to the iPhone, but runs on a simple version of Android that Huawei believes is easier to use. This means that it is also geared towards those who are new smartphone users.
With many positive reviews already, the Ascend P6 is creeping into popularity. But will the Chinese phone be appealing to Western consumers? That is Huawei’s biggest challenge if it hopes to achieve its goal. The fate of the company relies on its marketing to Europe and North America, which has been a challenge for it in the past.
If Huawei prevails with the Ascend P6, companies like Apple and Samsung might be given a run for their money.
If you are a CenturyLink DSL customer, brace yourself for a slightly higher bill. Customers have begun receiving notification of a new $1 Internet Cost Recovery Fee, which has appeared just months after the company hiked its DSL rates.
“Like with other junk fees of this kind, this is a way to raise rates (further) without increasing the advertised price by tacking on below-the-line fees,” wrote Karl Bode, of BroadbandReports.com. “It’s absolutely predatory and a form of false advertising, yet in the 13 years I’ve covered this industry I’ve never once seen a regulator (state or federal), PSC, Attorney General or watchdog stand up to such behavior.”
An extra buck a month may not seem like much, but with nearly six million broadband customers, CenturyLink is set to pull in major cash from the new fee.
A handful of small, struggling wireless carriers in Canada are for sale, and at least one U.S. telecom giant is eyeing a possible move into the market. Verizon Communications Inc. has reportedly kicked off preliminary discussions with Wind Mobile, while there are rumors that AT&T may also be interested.
The Globe and Mail reported that Verizon is considering purchasing Wind Mobile with the intent of creating a new, major carrier by scooping up more spectrum at an upcoming auction.
“A huge company such as Verizon could then roll out new, faster technology and low prices to undercut Canadian incumbents,” stated the article.
Currently three major carriers – Rogers, Bell and Telus – dominate the Canadian market. A fourth carrier with the resources to offer quality coverage and competitive pricing could lead to a significant shake-up.
Almost every Twitter post has a familiar symbol in it: the hashtag. In fact, many social networks now use them to group messages by subject, allowing people to easily search for the topics that users are posting about. But they have also crept into our lexicon as a way to place emphasis on certain words. So when people started using hashtags on Facebook – despite the absence of an associated search function – some found it redundant and annoying.
While Twitter users generally adopt more lax security settings than many Facebook users, the Facebook hashtags will still be useful in letting the public and media know what topics are popular amongst users at any given moment, such as live posts about TV shows they are watching or breaking news events as they unfold. This information will be important to Facebook staffers and marketers alike who will be keeping an eye on what hashtags are used to gain better insight into the public mind.
A long-time client calls one day and starts the conversation off with the usual formalities.
“I haven’t spoken with you for a long time! How have you been?” she asks, politely.
“Busy,” you respond. “Things are pretty hectic. Crazy busy.”
Without even realizing it, you have dropped a four-letter word with some stinging implications: busy.
It can be easy to see how “busy” is our go-to response, considering the pace of modern North American life. Many of us have packed schedules from morning till night – an hour with the personal trainer, a business dinner, shuttling Sally to ballet class. It seems our calendars are fuller, and busier, than ever.
So when you respond that you’re run off your feet, you may innocently think you are speaking the truth. You are busy, right? You probably are, but the message being sent to the person is not what you intend. Essentially you are shouting, “I have other things going on and I don’t have time for you!”
When it really comes down to it, you do have time for them, especially if it means making a sale, signing a lucrative contract, or fostering a new relationship. These are all things that benefit us professionally and make our businesses succeed.
Janet Choi of iDoneThis points out that the stereotypical “I’m busy” response does little to stimulate conversation, and makes those who do spend time with “busy” people feel ripped off. In her experience, those who are truly occupied don’t often spit out the “I’ve been busy” line.
Those who do use it, says Choi, are usually trying to communicate that they are important, or are giving an easy excuse to get out of an engagement. Psychologically, she says those who like to be “busy” may be afraid they’re not important or valued, and fill their time with meaningless tasks. Others overbook themselves until they feel guilty for not getting everything done, or for doing tasks that don’t mesh with their productivity model.
“The worship of busyness as such a virtue is where the trouble begins, providing the foundation to its indiscriminate use as a front or an excuse,” says Choi. “It’s easy, even enticing, to neglect the importance of filling our time with meaning, thinking instead that we’ll be content with merely filling our time. We self-impose these measures of self-worth by looking at quantity instead of quality of activity.”
Breaking the ‘busy’ cycle
Freelance writer Jessica Latham burned herself out early in her professional career. A neck injury forced her to slow down, and while recuperating she had time to reflect on the way she had been living her life. She discovered three questions you can ask yourself to help break the busy cycle.
First, ask: What am I doing in the day that does not serve me? Do I need to spend three hours every weekend cleaning the house or can my family divide, conquer, and clean in only one hour?
Do I need to spend two hours each day updating my social media status or can I update my profile once a week? What am I willing to sacrifice for internal sanity and calm?
Second, ask: Why do I do all that I do? You might be shocked to see that you cling to a number of superfluous tasks for money, pride, power, or recognition.
Third, ask: What would happen if I stopped doing this? Clearly, if you abruptly quit your job you might face immense challenges. Maybe start by identifying something small to erase from your over-packed day.
Instead of gauging your productivity by how many slots are filled on your daily calendar, ask yourself if you are getting the most important tasks completed in an effective manner. Identify key activities, and set aside adequate time to devote to them. Ditch tasks that aren’t essential and switch your focus to those that will reap the greatest reward.
Make sure to treat your time as an asset, strive to delegate tasks you don’t need to undertake yourself, and most of all, take time to focus on your goals. You’re never too busy to succeed.
Remember also that the next time you tell a person that you’re busy, you just may be telling someone that was about to refer a big opportunity to you that you’re too busy to consider it. That’s probably not your intention, even if you really are busy, but that is the message received. It’s kind of like a busy signal on the phone. You cease the connection when you get that signal and so does the person that received the busy message from you.
Every piece of technology we rely on today comes with built-in shortcuts that make using the device easier. However, unless you receive specialized training, we often do not know how to utilize these tools to their full potential. While some of the tricks may seem insignificant, they can have a big impact on our workflow and speed.
In this TED talk, columnist and bestselling how-to author David Pogue shares his Top 10 time-saving tech tips for cameras, smartphones, Internet and computers. Do you know how to skip an automated voicemail menu? Or how to auto punctuate your text message? It is likely you will be familiar with some of his tips, but almost everyone is guaranteed to pick up something new in this entertaining address.
Decision making is never simple. Often, we don’t know when we have dropped the ball until it is too late. Like talent scout Dick Rowe who turned down the Beatles in 1962, telling them he didn’t like their sound and that four-piece groups with guitars were dead. Or movie mogul Harry Warner, who in 1927 didn’t believe anyone would want to hear actors speak in a film.
For many of us, the go-to way to plot a new course is through a pro and con list. But that old-school way of thinking is bound to get us in trouble, warns Chip and Dan Heath in their new book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
According to the Heaths, there are a handful of traps that we fall into when making a decision. Sometimes we narrow our options and skip better choices, other times we let our emotions get in the way.
Overconfidence about the end result can also be a killer. We gather only favorable information and ignore the stuff we don’t like, without even realizing what we’re doing. All of these errors come down to something innate within us – personal bias.
“Research in psychology over the last 40 years has identified a set of biases in our thinking that doom the pros-and-cons model of decision making,” they write. “If we aspire to make better choices, then we must learn how these biases work and how to fight them.”
So what’s the most effective way to tackle decision making without that traditional two-columned list? The solution, say the Heaths, is a four-pronged approach they’ve dubbed the WRAP Process.
- Widen your options - Reality-test your assumptions - Attain some emotional distance - Prepare to be wrong
As pointed out by psychologist Roy Baumeister, we spend 95 percent of our time driving on a straight course, but when it comes down to it, it’s the turns we take that determine our destination. So let’s take a look at how the Heaths WRAP Process can guide us through our decision-making journey.
Widen Your Options
It is important to intentionally expand the set of choices you are considering. It is frightening how singularly focused many businesses are – an Ohio State University study found less than one-third of corporations considered more than one alternative. Spend time thinking of other options and encourage team members to do the same.
Don’t be afraid to consider several options simultaneously, and follow multiple paths all at once. Finding a mentor who has already solved similar problems can also be of great benefit. The Internet is a valuable tool – chances are someone else has already solved your dilemma. Adopt analogies you can adapt to your situation.
Reality-Test Your Assumptions
Fight your bias by taking a trip to the other side. Assume the opposite is true, consider the facts, and embrace constructive disagreement. Don’t shy away from the uncomfortable questions, and remember the more open-ended the query, the better. Taking the traditional top-down, big-picture approach is a good first step, but only if it is followed up by a bottom-up perspective that examines the fine details.
Before we plunge into a pool we usually dip our toe to test the waters. This also applies to decision making. Finding a way to run a practical small-scale test of your theories before taking a leap of faith can prevent serious mistakes from happening.
One great example is Bill Gross of idealab!, who was hot on the idea of selling cars online. He hired one CEO to sell one car online to see how it went. Within 24-hours, three cars sold and Gross went on to found CarsDirect.com, the largest auto dealer in the United States.
Attain Some Emotional Distance
Ask yourself a few questions. What would your successors do, or what would your best friend do in your situation? How will you feel about this 10 minutes from now? Ten months from now? Ten years from now? This line of questioning will force some emotional distance in your decision. Take a few minutes to reconnect with your values, goals and aspirations, and make sure you are enshrining them in your actions.
Prepare to be Wrong
No one likes to be wrong but the concept can grow on you. Humbly preparing yourself for the times that you make a bad call may prevent you from making one in the first place. By considering what your worst-case scenario would look like, along with the best-case-scenario, you will prepare yourself for both adversity and success. You won’t get carried away by your enthusiasm, therefore increasing the odds of making a good decision.
Setting a tripwire to alert you that change is needed or a better decision could be made is a good move. These can be based on deadlines, resources, or market share, to name just a few. The Heaths use David Lee Roth of Van Halen as an example. For years, he had a peculiar stipulation on his tour rider that many brushed off as a rockstar demand. He requested a bowl of M&Ms, with the brown candies removed, be provided backstage at each venue.
This was actually a test – his tripwire – to see if stagehands were reading the contract thoroughly. If he walked in to find brown M&Ms, he knew there was little attention to detail and there would be errors in more important aspects of the show.
Tripwires alert us to issues, but also give us trust in the process, something that is the final piece of the decision-making puzzle. Trust gives us confidence to take bigger risks and reap bigger rewards.
“Our decisions can never be perfect, but they can be better. Bolder. Wiser,” write the Heaths. “The right processes can steer us toward the right choice. And the right choice, at the right moment, can make all the difference.”
Over the years our jobs have become increasingly sedentary. It’s not unusual to spend the majority of our day sitting at our desk plowing through paperwork or staring at a computer screen. This behavior has a big impact on our health – researchers have discovered frightening links between sitting in a stationary position and diabetes, heart disease and cancer, to name only a few.
Hitting the gym for a few hours each week isn’t a cure-all – studies show that regular exercise does not mitigate the risks posed by long periods of inactivity, such as sitting. So how can we get up from our desk and get moving, all while staying productive? It’s time to stand up for our health. In this TED talk, business innovator Nilofer Merchant shares a simple concept that could result in big health benefits: The Walking Meeting.
Schooley Mitchell is the largest independent telecom consulting company in North America, with offices from coast to coast. Our Telecom Consultants deliver telecommunications expertise to companies large and small from all industries. We offer a broad range of services that include analysis of existing and future telecommunications needs, assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective telecommunications solutions.