How to Choose Your Coffee [Infographic]

Studies have shown that coffee has health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. Coffee also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.

People who drank coffee, no matter how much or what kind they drank, were less likely to die over a 10-year period than non-coffee drinkers, according to a new report.

It’s another piece of good news for coffee lovers, and it gets even better. It doesn’t matter what kind of coffee people drink — that includes decaf and instant coffee. And it also doesn’t matter what version of the “coffee gene” people have. Coffee-drinkers fared better than people who did not drink coffee.

The team at the National Cancer Institute used data from people taking part in a large genetic study in Britain called the U.K. Biobank. More than half a million people volunteered to give blood and answer detailed health and lifestyle questions for ongoing research into genes and health.

There are several possible explanations for the health benefits of coffee.

  • It is the No. 1 source in the American diet of antioxidants — chemical compounds that fight the damage to DNA caused by day-to-day living.
  • Reduces inflammation in the body, improve how insulin gets used, it might help liver function and it might benefit the linings of the blood vessels.
  • Coffee can help people recover from colon cancer, lower diabetes risk and reduce the inflammation associated with diabetes and heart disease. It may also protect against diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and liver cancer.
  • While caffeine in large amounts can kill, it takes huge amounts of coffee to deliver a lethal dose – more than 20 cups at once.

I love coffee. Tastes so good and make me feel good. Caffeine is the most popular psychoactive drug in the world. And the way most people get it is through coffee.

When you drink the coffee, the caffeine actually hijacks your brain. There are receptors in your brain meant for a chemical called Adenosine. And adenosine is what actually makes you feel tired, but when you drink caffeine, the caffeine takes control of those receptors and doesn’t leave any room for the adenosine and that’s why you feel alert.

Source: How to Choose Your Coffee [Infographic]

THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION | Are you participating?

InkedDigital-Transformation_LI

 Digital transformation is the term given to the transformation of business activities, processes and models to fully leverage the opportunities of new digital technologies. The aim of integrating digital technology into all areas of a business is to improve operations and how they deliver value to customers, employees, suppliers, partners and stakeholders. This necessitates a cultural and leadership change to encourage innovation and new business models.

One of the most important and substantive technology changes driving digital transformation is the focus on solutions designed to work the way employees do, rather than forcing users to change. The “force fit” method was common in the past, as the people using the apps had little choice but to convert their processes to match the technology. Those days are over, and organizations that cannot provide a user-centric experience will be left behind.

People-centric computing, defined as digital workspaces that are designed around the end user’s workflow, is today’s reality. And organizations that don’t adopt this approach will have numerous problems, including an inability to attract talented employees, lost productivity and far higher costs. As your organization deploys new digital business platforms, it’s essential to provide the flexibility and interoperability that supports business stakeholders and delivers an improved user experience without compromising security. It is also important to note that maintaining security is not an excuse for disrupting the user, either. The focus should be on digital workspace platforms that let organizations manage and aggregate different apps, databases and other resources that enable employee productivity―all while managing the security issues and system complexity behind the scenes and improving the experience for the end user.

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 Because digital transformation will look different for every company, it can be hard to pinpoint a definition that applies to all. However, in general terms, we define digital transformation as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how businesses operate and how they deliver value to customers. Beyond that, it’s a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment often, and get comfortable with failure. This sometimes means walking away from long-standing business processes that companies were built upon in favor of relatively new practices that are still being defined.

Researchers at IDG recently attempted to apply a unified field theory to the meaning of “digital transformation,” based on the results of a survey of 702 IT and business decision-makers. Essentially, they identified eight ways people look at it:
  • Employee productivity. For 52 percent of executives, “becoming a digital business means enabling worker productivity through tools such as mobile, data access and AI-assisted processes.”
  • Data-driven business performance. Close to half, 49 percent, also see digital transformation as “the ability to better manage business performance through data availability and visibility.”
  • Customer experience. “For 46 percent of decision-makers, digital transformation “means meeting customer experience expectations, while 44 percent see it as “understanding customer needs through data collection and analysis.”
  • Mobile capabilities. Another 46 percent see digital transformation as “providing secure, optimized anywhere/anytime access to assets.”
  • Process automaton. At least 37 percent say digital transformation means “digitally modifying business and/or processes .”
  • Revenue streams. One-third, 33 percent, say digital transformation means developing new digital business/revenue streams.
  • Product innovation. Another 31 percent see digital transformation as achieving top-line growth through digital product enhancements/new digital products or services.
  • Supply chain optimization. For more than a quarter of companies surveyed (27 percent), digital transformation means digitizing “the flow of data and information worldwide which enables the movement of goods, services, finance and people.”

What should you do next if you do believe in digital transformation?

 1. Regardless of your level in the company, talk to people and convince them that change is coming and action is needed.
 2. Get enough support to start with a Digital Transformation Modeling exercise as this will give your stakeholders a first insight on the digital impact, possible futures and activities you can roll-out.
 3. The next step is to understand how ready your company is for the digital future. The impact analysis from the Digital Transformation Modeling approach is a first step in a much wider audit of the digital readiness of your entire company and the people that work for it.
 4. This must lead to a concrete plan for setting up your Digital Transformation Team with their Digital Agenda.

DigitalTransformation-Triggers

You start from a strategic model (insights, impact, future) to build an organizational model that is able to run the on-going operational reality of digital transformation.

 

Evernote for Windows Gets Better

Evernote for Windows Gets Better Search, Color Coded Notebooks and Tags

evernote photo

Photo by Leif (Bryne)

The latest version of Evernote makes it easier to navigate your notebooks, search your notes easily, and organize notebooks and notes by color. There are a lot of great new features in this latest update.

Our favorite feature is the color coding for notebooks and tags. Right-click on a notebook or tag and choose Style… to assign it a color or add font formatting to note titles. It’s another layer of organization you can use with your notes to help quickly identify them.

Check out the improvements for Evernote Windows  Unveiling the new Evernote for Windows


evernote photo

Photo by Heisenberg Media

Source: evernote – Google News http://lifehacker.com/evernote-for-windows-gets-better-search-color-coded-no-1772474443

 

Make Content Marketing Work With an Agile Team

Even on an Agile team, content creation is a long-term, ongoing effort that can seem out of sync with the constant experimentation and iteration that characterizes an Agile team. And yet, content needs to roll with changing market forces, respond to emerging opportunities, and constantly improve.

YourStoryBusinessValue

Basically, content needs to be Agile, too. It just needs to run at its own pace. One way to allow content to benefit from Agile methodologies while still maintaining quality and consistency is to set up separate – parallel – sprint processes for marketing and content marketing efforts.

The technique of running parallel content marketing sprints assumes that your team is using the Scrum methodology to manage your Agile marketing efforts. If you need some background on adapting this approach to your marketing team.

  • One team focuses exclusively on content; the other handles all marketing efforts that aren’t related to content.
  • To simplify the process and make sure that all team members are fully informed at all times, the teams should have a joint standup (check-in meeting) every day.
  • Otherwise, the teams meet separately with very little overlap.

This arrangement works particularly well if your Agile marketing team has adopted a rapid sprints lasting less than four weeks.

Pay special attention, though, to the following tasks, which need to be adapted to the needs of content marketers: User stories are among the best Agile tools for content marketers because they help us create content that our audience wants to read.

Like most parts of the Agile methodology, user stories originated in software development, where they serve a similar function:  Forcing yourself to write a user story for each piece of content that your team produces can be a difficult exercise at first, but it’s worth doing.

This exercise pays off in the quality and relevance of content that you produce. It also saves time in the revision process because strong user stories help authors hit the usefulness mark sooner.

There’s also no better way to ensure that each piece of content you produce is in line with your larger content strategy than by crafting an epic user story that covers your strategy.

“Epics” are big stories that won’t fit into a single sprint and must therefore be broken down into smaller pieces that the team can tackle one by one.

Source: How to Make Content Marketing Work With an Agile Team

Social Brands With Awesome Blogs

blogs photo

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Whether you’re a small business or a big enterprise, it’s imperative that you have a content marketing strategy.

That is, a way to market your products and services online using relevant, useful content published and distributed through your website, social media, email communications and blog.

Bigcommerce, as with many other blogs, try to help their audiences by featuring articles with unique points of view.

Love the Dream Big section of their blog. If you’re working at a small business, those motivational quotes are the perfect pick-me-up after a long, stressful day. (Speaking of their motivational quotes, here are some from national small business week.)

Bigcommerce does a fantastic job of highlighting their most successful customers, which is important for their prospective customers to see. They have multiple posts that show off customers who have been on shows like Shark Tank and The Today Show. They also have a free ebook: Totally Tubular Guide to E-commerce SEO Cool.

Etsy is an online marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Their blog audience is primarily comprised of their vendors and their customers. You’re looking at a coed audience of do-it-yourselfers, to-be brides and grooms, artists, hipsters, and treasure hunters, to name a few.

The Etsy audience is interested in art, good food, fashion, and a vintage-forward lifestyle.Etsy employs lots of different types of posts in their strategy. Many of their posts are sourced from the artists themselves.

They also publish posts featuring new artists with personal insights into their lives, new trends and designers to watch, how-tos for cooking and creating, videos, and real people using real products created and sold through Etsy. I grew up going on long road trips with my family so I thought this blog post/video/campaign was a neat idea. Etsy is smart in recognizing that fashion and tastes differ by country and culture, so they’ve taken things to the next level by offering multiple country-specific blogs.

Constant Contact offers affordable email and social media marketing service along with some stellar blog content.

Much like Bigcommerce, the Constant Contact audience is made up of small businesses and DIYers, from all different industries, locations, and demographics. Generally, these folks need help with their online marketing, and Constant Contact consistently delivers top-notch blog content to meet this need. Their blog focuses on hot topics, how-tos, and tips and tricks regarding email marketing, social media marketing, and content marketing.

They offer resources (like this one for SEO), guides, and lists that are easy to digest and act upon. What I find most amazing about their strategy is that you can tell that they really want to help their audience, not just pitch them as to why their product is great. A B2B blog strategy cannot be successful unless you’re completely dialed in with your audience, and Constant Contact has done just that.

Guest blogs and whitepapers are also big parts of their strategy. In a digital marketing world full of complexity and confusing jargon, Constant Contact keep things light-hearted and easy for their audience to understand. In honor of small business week earlier this year, they put out a inspiring post/video/social campaign that urged small businesses to #DoMoreBusiness.

Ref: blog.hootsuite.com/5-social-brands-with-awesome-blog-strategies/

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com 

Microsoft joins Big Data And Analytics

Microsoft announced the Cortana Analytics Suite. It takes the company’s machine learning, big data and analytics products and packages them together in one suite.

Our goal was to bring integration of these pieces so customers have a comprehensive platform to build intelligent solutions,” Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president at Microsoft.

It includes pieces like Azure ML, the company’s cloud machine learning product, PowerBI, its data visualization tool and Azure Data Catalog, a service announced just last week designed for sharing and surfacing data stores inside a company, among others.

It hopes to take advantage of range of technologies such as face and speech recognition to generate a series of solutions like recommendation engines and churn forecasting.

Chart with all of the products in the Cortana Analytics Suite.

It’s All About Integration

Microsoft expects that by providing an integrated solution, third parties and systems integrators will build packaged solutions based on the suite, and that customers will be attracted by a product with pieces designed to play nicely together.

It is building in integration, thereby reducing the complexity of making these types of tools work together.

As an example, Microsoft talked about a coordinated medical care project at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The program, called ImagineCare, is built on top of the Cortana Analytics Suite and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM tool.

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center patient dashboard built using Cortana Analytics Suite.

Microsoft made billions for years delivering a similar type of integration with the Office suite. Adobe did the same thing with Creative Suite, both companies delivering ways to work more easily across the products that make up the suite.

Content Marketing vs. Native Advertising

New research on the variables surrounding the waning efficacy of outbound marketing and the return on investing in content marketing and/or native advertising.

funnel-trigger

The average content marketing campaign can deliver KPIs equal to or better than most native advertising campaigns, but there are distinct differences. If your budget doesn’t have room for both, make sure you focus on what you want to accomplish for your brand:

  • both boost brand awareness, but content will boost SEO and conversions while native ads encourage social engagement
  • content yields a higher number of leads, high-quality links, and total social shares
  • native campaigns yield higher views, site traffic, and social engagement
  • average channels for content is 27 publisher stories, while native utilizes one publishing partner
  • benefits of content marketing are increased organic rankings, optimized conversions, and brand awareness
  • benefits of native advertising are brand awareness and engagement
  • challenges of content marketing are the need for long-term investment and publisher partnerships
  • challenges of native advertising are the lack of SEO benefit, cost of scale, and being perceived as an “ad”

There will always be the need to evaluate and refine campaigns to increase the ROI.

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Investing in content marketing, native advertising, or any other online marketing strategy is an ongoing process.

Source: Social Media Today

Traits Of The Most Successful People

The Common Traits Of  Success

Do you have a routine for focus and a feeling of connectedness in your work? These great innovators had these traits in common.

 scarecrowWhat makes someone ordinary become extraordinary? Is it their intellect or good luck? Is it their charisma and leadership qualities?

Robert Greene, best-selling author of The 48 Laws of Power spends a lot of time researching and interviewing the most successful people. Greene shares common things he thinks successful people do differently.

They Are Emotionally Committed

When looking at the most successful people throughout history, Greene found that it’s an emotional quality, not an intellectual one, that separates them from everyone else.

  • “We live in a culture that tends to really emphasize intellect and going to the greatest schools and all that,” Greene tells Fast Company, but success is really more dependent on “a resiliency and a love of what you’re doing.”
  • Since intellect isn’t the core driving force for success, Greene says that successful people won’t always show signs of great potential in their early years. In Mastery, Greene points to Charles Darwin who, as a youth, was always in the shadows of his cousin who had a much higher IQ.

success depends more on resiliency and a love of your work than IQ

  • If you don’t feel emotionally connected to your work, Greene suggests looking within yourself. Keep a journal and think about the experiences that really excited you. What do they have in common?
  • “If you can’t look at what you like, what you don’t like, then it’s pretty hopeless,” he says. “But I think most people generally have up until the age of 50 and can go back and do this process.”

They Don’t Care Too Much What Others Think Of Them

If you’re going to follow your passion and put all of your energy into your work, you can’t care too much about what others think of you. So successful people don’t.

“Overall, you have to have some level of connection to yourself,” says Greene. “You have to know what makes you different. What you love, what you don’t love.”

But successful people revere their individuality. If you look at the ones at the top, “they’re one of a kind,” says Greene. “Their business reflects their weirdness, they’re uniqueness.”

They Don’t Let Their Brain Get Rigid

The worst thing you can do to your career—and your life—is to allow your brain to get stale, says Greene. This is when you start thinking about and doing your work in a way that doesn’t spark creativity or inspire innovation.

You need outside sources of information.”

In almost all fields, the greatest innovators are those who came from outside of the industry they transformed because they’re able to think differently and aren’t tied down by “conventions and dogmas,” says Greene.

DigitalWorldThey Know When To Turn Off Their Phone

With everything that’s fighting for our attention every minute of every day, the ones who get things done are the people who can focus.

One of the biggest distractions that keep our attention is our phone so successful people separate themselves from their phones.

They are able to not get too distracted. In other words, they’re able to focus more than others and know how to turn off their smartphones.

They Have A Focus Routine

Steve Jobs once said that the only thing that separates him from other people is the ability to focus. He would close his door and not let other people in and that was his focus routine.

How he was able to shut out the rest of the world. Anyone who wants to accomplish something great, needs to be able to do the same.

  • Meditating 30 minutes every morning.
  • You only have so much mental energy.
  • If all of these things in your day-to-day affairs are weighing you down, bothering you, creating anxiety, and making you insecure, it’s draining a lot of that valuable time that could be spent for creative focus.

They Don’t Live In Their Past Successes

Once you start getting used to your successes, you’ll start taking it for granted. You want to stay in a familiar, comfortable place instead of push yourself when you feel that frustration that often comes before the brink of greatness.

No one was born an expert or a master of something. You may be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t know what drives you or can’t seem to focus, you won’t get anything done. According to Greene, the most important thing for success is finding something that you feel emotionally committed to.

The most successful people are usually not chasing money when they decide on their craft because “money isn’t the greatest motivator in the world,” he says.

mindmap

Via fastcompany.com/3038843/the-common-traits-of-the-most-successful-people

Landing Pages Tips That Convert

What goes into a successful landing pages:

1. Create Landing Pages for the Different Stages of the Sales Cycle

The same offers and content won’t be relevant to all your leads. Consider what someone who just discovered your company would be interested in reading. It probably isn’t the same content that would engage a lead who is closer to making a purchasing decision.

12-step-conversion-rehab

2. Gate Your Most Valuable Content

Want an easy way to generate more leads? Entice prospects with a whitepaper, case study, or eBook and require them to fill out a form to download the content.

3. Personalize

Create content that is centered around your target prospects’ main interests. One of the most important ways to do this is use conversational language rather than being overly formal.

4. A/B Test Everything

If you study your landing pages, you will likely to be able to find areas for improvement.

5. Adjust Your Call to Action

Your CTA needs to clearly tell visitors what’s in it for them.

6. Streamline Forms

Lead-generation forms are one of the most important elements on a landing page, but they can derail your efforts without optimization.

Test different aspects of the form, such as number of fields, placement, wording and the name of the asset for best results.

7. Support Multiple Buyer Preferences

 Include links to your blog or other relevant content to support the independent research process.

8. Remove the Navigation Bar

Streamlining the page can keep prospects focused.

9. Use Customer Testimonials

This creates a more personal connection with your brand and builds trust.

10. Organize Your Page for Conversions

All the aspects on the page need to have a clear connection to drive conversions.

via 10 B2B Landing Pages Tips That Convert.

Innovators using low cost API economy building blocks

API Economy photo
Photo by ottonassar

The IT sector is turning in on itself to find a new set of winners.

In fact innovators need to look more broadly because 2015 is going to be tough; it will bring more pressure to get results faster and cheaper; more need to be systematic about innovation.

  • At the same time there is a bigger debate firing up – about how companies measure success.
  • This too will be part of the debate that senior executives have with their innovation teams. 2015 will be a decisive year for many of us.

“Fifty-six percent of companies in this technology sector—representing a full 88% of overall sector revenue (excluding Samsung and Apple) —have already fallen into financial stress or are at high risk of doing so.” 

A recent Harvard Business Review article pointed out that large corporations are sitting on over $1 trillion in cash, reluctant to invest. That’s because, he points out, they are unable to conceive of market-creating innovations such as the iTunes business model or global fiber deployment.

“Why do companies invest primarily in efficiency innovations, which eliminate jobs, rather than market-creating innovations, which generate them?”

  • We measure the use of capital in the wrong way and make long term investments look too difficult to justify. For example by outsourcing we can take cost out of the balance sheet and make the return on assets look far better.
  • Some companies spotted the structural adaptation of the economy earlier that others and are helping to shape it to their needs.

Companies that do highly scaled externalized innovation are clear winners.

 The chart below shows the expected rate of new API programs in the global economy over the coming two years, against the long term trend.

Growth is from about 8,500 open APIs in 2012 to 30,000 by 2016. The prediction is for 250,000 total, open and closed by 2016. This is extraordinary growth and it signals a new phase in innovation and a further blurring of enterprise-market boundaries.

The lesson is structural innovation is happening and fast.