Monday, December 31, 2012 – Free Shirt Friday

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Well shoot! I probably should have posted this one before the Holidays so you could have had recipe ideas that you could have taken to your family get togethers.. better late than never I guess. RecipeIdeas.Net check it out before you cook again!

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Robert H. Benmosche Timothy Hearn Tim Koogle Thierry Breton Manfred Wennemer

An Introduction to Content Curation for Marketing Professionals

Robin Good's insight:

Good introductory article by Don Reggie on "content curation" for marketing people. It explains from A to Z and in simple words, the what, why, and how of content curation.

Good introduction to curation for the layman. 6/10

Full article:

(Image courtesy of


John McAdam Mauricio Novis Botelho Kenneth W. Freeman Michael Pragnell Thomas P. Mac Mahon

How Marketers Can Avoid Those Dreaded Email Spam Traps

email marketing spam trapsintermediate

Email inboxes are precious territory. So it's no surprise marketers are aching to get some real estate in those bad boys! It's also no surprise, however, that spammers are fighting tooth and nail to get in there, too.

But what about the people in between email marketers and spammers? You know ... the ones who are doing mostly good email marketing, but aren't really cleaning their lists. Or the ones who generate mostly opt-in email addresses, but got pressured by their boss to buy a list or two. Are they going to suffer the same repercussions as straight up email spammers?

Well, if they hit a spam trap ... yeah, they might.

But it's not that black and white. There are different types of spam traps, varying levels of repercussions for hitting them, and some email marketers that are more likely to hit them based on the makeup of their contacts database. That's a lot of shades of gray. So we sat down with our own email deliverability specialist Evan Murphy and consulted a fantastic article on BriteVerify by former Hotmail postmaster Travis Wetherbee that discusses the subject of spam traps in great detail to get some clarity on this hot-button issue. Here's what we learned about spam traps that we think email marketers should know.

What Are Spam Traps?

Spam traps are a tool ISPs use to identify and track email spammers. They are email addresses that shouldn't be receiving email -- for a couple of reasons that we'll cover in just a moment -- and as such alert the ISPs that the email sender might be a spammer, or at the very least, an email marketer who doesn't follow good sender practices. If you get flagged as one of these, it's extremely difficult to get any of your email delivered to ISPs; so staying away from spam traps is a big, big deal for any email marketer.

There are two types of spam traps you should be aware of: pure spam traps, and recycled spam traps. Pure spam traps are the worst for your sender reputation, making it extremely difficult for you to deliver email to an inbox if you're caught sending to one. Why are they so bad? Because pure spam trap email addresses are set up with the sole purpose of identifying spammers. In other words, there's no conceivable reason any sender should have that email address ... unless they got it in a sketchy way, like harvesting lists or scraping websites. Bad news bears, indeed.

Recycled spam traps, on the other hand, could have been active email addresses at one point in time. That means they might have just gone dormant or inactive, and they've been taken over by the ISP after a period of inactivity. At this point, ISPs will deliver a hard bounce notification to email marketers so they know they're emailing an inactive account. It's at that point email marketers should remove the email address from their list. Some of them, however, don't -- that's when they feel the wrath of recycled spam traps. Because after a couple months, ISPs convert those email addresses into recycled spam traps and stop delivering hard bounce notifications to email senders. If you keep emailing that address, they'll mark it as a spam trap hit.

These hits aren't good by any means, but they're less harmful to your overall Sender Score  and future ability to deliver email than a pure spam trap hit ... because at least it made sense that email address was on your list at some point. I mean, you're not doing a good job at email list hygiene, but they could have still opted in once upon a time.

What Happens if You Get Caught in a Spam Trap?

Like I said, it depends what kind of spam trap you get caught in -- the repercussions for being caught in a recycled spam trap are less severe than if you were caught in a pure spam trap. If you've hit a pure spam trap, your IP address, and most likely your "from domain," will be blocked immediately. (I told you the repercussions were severe.) BriteVerify reported that one of their clients with an excellent sender reputation, upon hitting a pure spam trap, saw their email deliverability plummet from 98% down to 25% overnight. If your IP address is hit by a pure spam trap, it could take anywhere from 6 months to a year to recover a good sender reputation.

If you've hit a recycled spam trap, you won't be immediately sent to the ninth circle of email marketing hell. It's more likely you'll just be sent to the junk folder. At first, anyway. Your first infraction will still act as a signal to ISPs that they should monitor you to see if you continue to hit that recycled email address. If you do, it's a sign that you likely haven't had a relationship with that person in a while, and practice poor email list hygiene. That could take you from just landing in the junk folder, to a plummeting deliverability rate.

Could You Have a Spam Trap on Your List?

Sooo ... it sounds like a pretty bad idea to email spam traps. If you do, it'll impact your ability to deliver email, and it's kind of hard to do email marketing if you can't send any emails. So let's just address the elephant in the room -- do you have any spam traps on your list?


If you've done any of the following, it's possible you have a spam trap on your list that could impact your email deliverability:

  • Purchased an email list - The email addresses on a purchased list could be extremely old, increasing the likelihood they've since turned into recycled spam traps. Alternately, the email addresses could have been harvested, and thus could contain the dreaded pure spam traps.
  • Started emailing an extremely old portion of your list - "Hey! Remember these guys? We haven't emailed them in years!" Uh ... that might be for the best. If you start emailing people you haven't contacted in years, many of those email addresses could have gone dormant and morphed into a recycled spam trap. If you're looking to re-awaken old contacts, reference this blog post that teaches you how to do it without harming your Sender Score and email deliverability.
  • Been emailing unengaged subscribers - You can also run into trouble emailing relatively new email contacts. If they're not engaged with your email content, that is. Many email marketers run into spam trap trouble when they continue to email contacts that have opted in, but haven't actually engaged with any emails. Think about it ... you could opt in to a list today, abandon that email address a month from now, and that address could turn into ... that's right, a spam trap! That's why it's critical to always keep an eye out for email addresses that go dormant, whether old or new. That way, you'll be able to remove them from your active email list. And if any of those turn into spam traps, you'll be glad you did.

If you fall into any of these buckets and you're suspicious you might have hit a spam trip, consider your delivery and bounce rates. If 1) you're seeing delivery rates plummet, 2) you're not seeing high bounce rates, and 3) you're seeing low email engagement you might be suffering a spam trap hit. Makes sense, right? If you hit a spam trap, you're certainly not going to receive a bounce notification, and there's not much email getting through for people to actually engage with!

How Can Email Marketers Avoid Spam Traps?

You're not going to like this answer, but ... don't get spam trap addresses on your list. What an annoying answer, right?

That means you're not purchasing email lists, you're not harvesting lists on your own, you're removing hard bounces from your contacts database (if HubSpot is your ESP, we do this for you automatically), and continuously cleansing your list to re-engage your sleepy subscribers, and remove the disengaged ones. You should also be sure to maintain a suppression list. That way, if you ever change email service providers, you don't find yourself accidentally emailing contacts you suppressed once upon a time.

These are the only surefire ways to prevent yourself from hitting spam traps -- good ol' white hat list generation and email marketing. If you already have spam traps on your list, you're in a more precarious situation; but there is recourse. Expensive, time-consuming recourse. You could try to re-confirm your entire email database. Asking people to re-confirm that they want to receive emails from you will likely result in a sharp decrease in the size of your database, but it will certainly help you ensure you're only left with the people who want to be on your list. It's a drastic measure, to be sure, but if you know you've generated your contacts in illicit ways in the past and are looking to change your ways, it's one way to ensure you're starting out with a clean slate.

Have you ever been hit by a spam trap? What impact did it have on your email deliverability?

Image credit: betsyweber





Jeffrey P. Bezos Margaret C. Whitman Eric E. Schmidt Hugh Grant Robert L. Tillman

Evernote CEO Phil Libin Explains How The Smartest Entrepreneurs Ask For Advice

Question from an entrepreneur in his 30's: I have found that being a CEO is a  lonely job. Do you have someone you ask for advice? Have you ever received really beneficial advice?  If so, from whom?

Thank you for your question. Being a CEO is tough and lonely and it's often difficult to find people who understand our problems. For example, I find that the air conditioning in my Gulfstream G550 jet sometimes dries out the handmade Tuscan lip balm I have brought in by courier twice a week. Is there anything worse than brushing off the press in Davos with chapped lips?

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother leaving my hyperbaric oxygen rejuvenation tent in the morning.

Don't even get me started on the lackadaisical state of modern day attack dog training…

But let's not discuss such matters in more detail here, since I think many of the other readers are not CEOs and we don't want to bore them with our troubles.

All joking aside, I owe my mentors a lot.

Instead, let me answer your question about mentors earnestly: Yes, I have had the great honor to have many amazing mentors. In fact, the most surprising, and rewarding, part of my journey as a CEO was finding out how easy it is to get legendary people to help you. All you have to do is ask.

One of my most influential mentors is Hiroshi Mikitani from Rakuten. Mikitani-san really focused my thinking on what it means to be a global company; how to make global part of your very DNA. Jerry Yang, from Yahoo, gave me great advice on how to maintain startup culture through periods of explosive growth. Marc Benioff, from, inspired me to think about the cloud and made me fall in love with Japan. Steve Balmer, from Microsoft, gave me the clearest and most startlingly useful explanation of how to structure a top management team that I've ever heard. Loic Le Meur, from Seesmic, keeps trying unsuccessfully to make me a better statesman. I appreciate it.

All of these people, and many more, have been enormously generous with their time, often as a result of nothing more than a simple request: "Hi, I'm Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote and I would really love to get your advice on building a company." Remember that most great CEOs got to be that way because they got great advice along the way, are passionate about building lasting value, and like to talk about the craft. As long as you don't have a hidden agenda, these kinds of meetings can work really well. I've formed many relationships as a result.

What I learned, most of all

I find that talking to people like this to be simultaneously humbling and inspiring. Humbling because when I look at their achievements, I realize that everything we have built so far at Evernote is just a tiny drop in the ocean compared to what we still have left to do, Inspiring because you realize that before each of these people built world-changing, multi-billion dollar companies for the first time, they'd never done it before either.

Of course, your first stop for advice should be your board of directors. It's their job to give a CEO guidance. Your most reliable, daily, source of counsel and mentorship should be your employees. Especially if you've had the good sense to hire people smarter than you. Being transparent with your management team, even on subjects you may think are for "CEOs only," will make you all happier.

Most important, if you do manage to find great mentors, remember that it'll now be your responsibility to help younger entrepreneurs when the time comes. That's why, even though my accomplishments are nothing compared to my mentors, I try to give good advice to everyone who has honest questions about launching a startup to prepare them for what lies ahead.

For instance, I've just learned that the real solution to my lip balm problem may be a new clinic in Singapore that will surgically implant atomically pure platinum nano-beads directly into your lips, keeping them perfectly smooth under any aircraft or ski resort conditions… Maybe I've said too much.

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Join the conversation about this story »


Sean Boyd Thomas J. Engibous James D. Taiclet, Jr. John McFarlane Robert L. Long

15 Shockingly Racist Vintage Ads


“Racism,” says Business Insider, “has a long history in advertising.” What’s more, racist ads still appear today, with companies such as Intel, PopChips, Sony and Burger King all having been accused of promoting their products in racially insensitive ways. Although most of these unacceptable modern-day ads are retracted after inciting a hue and cry, the vintage ads featured here were quite unapologetic about the views they presented. And while they might hail from a different era, they’re still rather too close for comfort. Take a look.


Benjamin Steinbruch Bart Becht Masahiro Sakane Terry Leahy John W. Thompson

What Spending $252,000 On Conversion Rate Optimization Taught Me

ab testing

Over the last year and a half I spent a total of $252,000 on conversion rate optimization. That money was used to hire 3 firms: Conversion Rate Experts, Digital Telepathy, and Conversion XL.

All 3 firms produced a positive return on investment, but if I knew what I know now, I would have made a lot more money. Although conversion rate optimization (CRO) in it’s simplest form is finding out why your website visitors aren’t converting into customers… and then fixing it, there is a lot more to it.

Here’s what I learned by spending $252,000:

Lesson #1: Gather qualitative and quantitative data before you start testing

You probably already have some ideas on how you can boost your conversion rate, but before you start testing them out there are a few things you should note:

  1. Do not run test based off of your gut, you’ll end up running a ton of tests that fail. Instead make sure you base all your testing off of data.
  2. Numbers don’t paint the whole picture, for this reason you need qualitative data… so don’t be afraid to ask your current customers and potential customers questions.
  3. It’s better to have more data then less. For this reason you should spend a month gathering and analyzing data before you start testing.

When I first started paying CRO companies we just tested based off of our Google Analytics data. It wasted time and money as it didn’t produce an ROI. Since I have started gathering both quantitative and qualitative data and started making decisions based off it, the ROI has been huge. The $252,000 in spend has turned into millions in additional revenue.

Lessons #2: Do A/A tests before you do A/B tests

When I first started A/B testing there were instances in which the new variation had big increases in conversion… such as 30% or 40%. However when I analyzed revenue increase I didn’t see much if any increase at all.

Do you know why?

The software I was using for A/B tests was not great. This is why you should run an A/A test before you run an A/B test. Meaning you take your original variation of your landing page and test it against itself. After a few hundred conversions, if the conversion rates aren’t very similar, it means your software is probably off.

It’s really important that you run an A/A test first as this will help ensure that you won’t be wasting time with inaccurate software.

Lesson #3: Don’t expect increases on a monthly basis

When I got into A/B testing I expected increases in conversions on a regular basis. At least every other month.

Boy, was I wrong!

From my experiences you tend to only get a few big wins each year that drastically affect your revenue in a big way. Those wins typically make up for all of the fees you pay to consultants. This is really important for you to understand if you have cash flow issues, as you will be out a lot of money before you make it back. CRO is a long-term investment, not a short-term one.

In other words, don’t expect to make a return on your investment within the first 3 months. Expect to start seeing a return in about 6 months and by the end of 12 months you should be cash flow positive on your CRO investment.

Lesson #4: Multivariate tests never work… or at least for me

If you don’t know what a multivariate test is, check out this article.

In a multivariate test, a Web page is treated as a combination of elements (including headlines, images, buttons and text) that affect the conversion rate. Essentially, you decompose a Web page into distinct units and create variations of those units. For example, if your page is composed of a headline, an image and accompanying text, then you would create variations for each of them. To illustrate the example, let’s assume you make the following variations:

  • Headline: headline 1 and headline 2
  • Text: text 1 and text 2
  • Image: image 1 and image 2

Now that you know what it is, I recommend that you stay away from them. Every time I’ve taken the winning elements from each multivariate test and made them the default version, I never seen the increase in conversion that the testing tool is showing that I should get. I’ve tried this with multiple tools and have had statistical significant results, but the results never equate into huge revenue increases.

You can try out multivariate tests, but I personally never find them to work in my favor.

Lesson #5: Don’t optimize for conversions, optimize for revenue

Most CRO consultants focus on increasing your conversion rate, but they don’t focus on increasing your revenue. Which at the end of the day, is all that matters.

When you are running tests, you’ll quickly get an understanding of how a conversion decrease can increase revenue. The quickest way to do this is to increases you prices.

For example, assume that you sell flowers online. Out of every 1000 people that visit your website, 5% convert into a paid customer. And because you charge $10 for each flower you sell, you end up making $500 in revenue for every thousand visitors.

Now lets assume you decide to increase your prices to $20 per flower. Due to your increased prices, now out of every 1000 people that visit your website, only 3% convert into a paid customer. In this scenario you make $600 in revenue for every thousand people that visit your website. Even though you conversion rate went down from 5% to 3%, you still were able to make more money by increasing your prices.

So when you are working with CRO consultants, have them focus on optimizing your revenue, not conversion rates.

Lesson #6: Focus on macro conversions, not micro conversions

The difference between macro and micro conversions is that macro focuses on the big picture while micro focuses on the small picture.

For example, a macro conversion would be how many people end up buying your product. A micro conversion would be optimizing how many people click the “add to cart” button or view your “pricing page”. As you already know, just because someone added something to their cart or viewed your pricing page, it doesn’t mean they will purchase your product.

When running A/B tests don’t run tests that will boost your micro conversions, as that will not guarantee a boost in your macro conversions. Focus on macro conversions such as increasing the total number of sales, instead of optimizing how many people view your pricing page.

Lesson #7: Drastic changes = drastic results

Once you optimize your conversions by making all of the major changes, you’ll notice that small tweaks stop having huge impacts on your conversion rate. From headlines to button colors, these small tweaks will stop having huge impacts on your conversion rate.

It’s not that those small tweaks aren’t important, it’s more so that you’ve taken care of all of the low hanging fruit that is stopping people from converting. At this point you’re best chance of boosting your conversion rates, or more importantly revenue, is to make drastic changes.

From changing up your signup process, to forcing people to signup for a free account before you upsell them, you have to make drastic changes.

Many of these changes won’t work out, but some will have a positive impact. Just get creative as that is the trick to boosting revenue. For example, a drastic change I made that tripled my contact requests was changing my contact page to an infographic.

Lesson #8: Don’t forget to optimize your backend for conversions

When you think of optimizing conversions, what comes to mind? The concept of turning more visitors into customers, right?

Although that is CRO, it doesn’t mean it has to stop there. What about increase the lifetime value of your customers? Like getting them to spend more money with you or getting them to refer their friends to you.

There are a lot of things you can do to boost your backend conversions, so don’t just focus on the front end. In many cases it is easier to optimize your backend than front end, so focus on both.

CRO consultants from my experience love working on the front end of your website, but they can also do wonders for your backend… so make them work on both.

Lesson #9: Consultants aren’t miracle workers, they need direction

That’s right, CRO consultants aren’t miracle workers. Just because you are paying someone 6 figures a year to help you boost your conversions, it doesn’t mean they will actually produce results.

If you want to get the most out of your CRO consultant, here are a few things I recommend doing:

  • Require that you have a call at least once every 2 weeks.
  • Assuming you have enough traffic, make it a requirement that you have to run at least 2 tests a month. It’s a numbers game…
  • Make them gather and analyze quantitative and qualitative data every quarter. What your customers have to say change over time.
  • Have them focus their efforts on creating wireframes and writing copy. Most CRO consultants are slow at design, so might as well have them focus their time on what they are best at.
  • Don’t expect your consultant to come up with all of the ideas. You know your business better than anyone else, so make sure you throw your ideas out there. Our biggest conversion increases came from ideas my business partner and I had.
  • Make sure you are working with a consultant who is good at executing. What I’ve experienced is that tons of consultants understand the concepts of CRO, but many of them suck at execution. If they suck at execution, nothing will get done.
  • Once you find a consultant you really like working with, prepay them for future work and ask for a discount. You should optimize your spend. We do it with all of the consultants we work with and it easily saves us over 20% a year.

Lesson #10: Just because you had huge wins, doesn’t mean you will see large revenue increases

Even if you are using good A/B testing software, focusing on optimizing revenue, and measuring macro conversions instead of micro, it doesn’t mean things will go the way you want.

Over the last 1.5 years I’ve noticed a trend that just because a test says it increases your revenue by 30%, doesn’t mean it will maintain that increase in the longrun. I am not 100% sure why, and nor are the consultants I work with, as they have seen this happen too.

Even with statistically significant tests, those 30% revenue lifts tend to be 15% lifts in the long run. My best guess is that there are other variables that come into play, such as the quality or volume of your traffic changing over time.

This doesn’t mean you should discount those tests or stop testing. Instead this means that you need to constantly test and work on optimizing your conversions/revenue. It’s a never ending game.


Have you started optimizing your conversions yet? If not, I hope this post encourages you to start, as CRO can help you make millions.

Before you can start, the one thing you’ll need to have is traffic volume and conversions. If you have less than 10,000 monthly visitors or $200,000 in yearly income, it maybe hard to optimize your conversions.

On the flip side if you have over $500,000 in yearly revenue, then you should consider making CRO a line item expense. Like how you would constantly pay a book keeper or accountant each year, you should constantly pay a CRO consultant.

What have you learned by optimizing your website for conversions?


Michael Pragnell Thomas P. Mac Mahon Frank O\'Halloran Daniel Hajj Aboumrad Philippe Varin

And Now for Something Completely Different

If you follow me on Twitter, are friends with me on Facebook, or have had more than a 30 second conversation with me in the last year, this announcement will come as no surprise. As of June, I will be a full-time college student again. I am enrolled at K-State in the Dietetics program with the goal of becoming a Registered Dietician. I have experienced how much positive dietary changes can affect quality of life first hand, as well as in many friends and family members. Over the last few years, it has become apparent that my passion lies in helping people make those positive changes.

When deciding to go back to school, I also had to decide if I was going to do it while continuing to work full-time for BlueGlass Interactive, or to leave my position at this awesome company and go to school full-time. I decided that it would be best for me to dedicate myself to school full-time and made the bittersweet decision to resign from my position. However, BlueGlass is still working with clients on comprehensive online marketing packages which include pay-per-click management, and I am still working with them on these projects.

It will take me a couple of years to finish the degree and complete the internship that is required before I can practice independently. Therefore I will still be servicing my existing PPC management clients with the same quality work I always have. I am grateful for the wonderful clients I have (and for the friends that have referred them to me) and will continue honing my skills as a PPC manager for years to come. Dating an SEO consultant also guarantees that I will be at various conferences and industry events.

Luckily, K-State offers a fully accredited online program so I don’t have to sit in a classroom with 18-year olds arguing about what a healthy diet really is. So, I will still have plenty of energy for harassing all of my SEO, SEM, PPC, <insert acronym here> friends into eating healthier and taking care of themselves. I also have time and energy for a few more PPC management clients. So, if you, or someone you know, are looking for AdWords management, I’d be happy to help. You can reach me at pam at thatpamchick dot com.

Thank you to all of you that have encouraged me in this decision and to those that have told me that they are making healthier choices due to my non-stop harassment. It means the world to me. You can check out my blog Practically Primal (and like it on Facebook!) for upcoming posts on nutrition and fitness.

P.S. That creepy thing pictured above is apparently a K-State flying rally monkey. You will not find me at any homecoming games with animal carcasses on my fingers, no matter how much I talk about eating strange meats.


Donald Rudolph Voelte, Jr. Jeffrey L. Bleustein Nobuo Katsumata Richard D. Kinder Dennis H. Reilley

10 Ideas That Changed The World In 2012

shapeways 3d printing honeycombWhat better time than late December to pause for a retrospective look at the ideas that mattered over the past year?

In this era of specialization, no one person is qualified to offer a definitive list of this kind. So think of what follows as a proposition to ponder: all that follows is either going to reshape our world, or would reshape it if only the idea in question were given its due.

Take to the comments section to offer ideas that ought to appear on lists like this one.

1. Anyone can own a 3D printer.

It wasn't so long ago that 3-D printing sounded like science-fiction: a device that was fed code and printed out three-dimensional objects?!

Nowadays, 3-D printers are widely known to exist. And in 2012, they began the who-knows-how-long transition from tech-geek luxury item to common consumer good. The first retail stores selling 3-D printers opened in New York and Los Angeles.

"People can come in, look at a variety of printed objects, and buy 3-D printed knickknacks like watch bands and little plastic squirrels for their friends," Ashlee Vance wrote this autumn. "They can also check out the just-released Replicator 2 printer from MakerBot that costs $2,199 and lets people build larger, more precise objects than its predecessors could."

Expensive, sure, but prices are falling fast, with one online company selling its consumer model, The Portabee , for $500. At this rate, it isn't difficult for anyone to imagine that one day in the not so distant future, they'll be hooking up their own 3-D printer in a home office.

2. The NFL starts to understand the deadliness of repeat head injuries.

Strange as it may seem, American sports historians may one day look back on 2012 as the beginning of the end for NFL football, at least in its present-day, helmeted, blocking-and-tackling-intensive incarnation.

Thousands of former players are embroiled in a lawsuit against the league, alleging that it hid information about the danger of repeated head trauma. Present and former NFL insurers are also fighting the league over who is owed what.

Every new concussion a current player suffers—and especially any suicide, violent crime or debilitating medical condition involving a former player—only brings the issue to broader public attention. And the cultural impact is trickling down to young kids whose parents are thinking twice about letting them join Pop Warner or attend tryouts during their freshmen year of high school.

3. Trial-and-error experiments could improve public policy.

That's the case Jim Manzi made in a 2012 release, Uncontrolled , that received far less attention than it deserved.

As David Brooks put it in a column that doubled as its most prominent review, "Businesses conduct hundreds of thousands of randomized trials each year. Pharmaceutical companies conduct thousands more. But government? Hardly any. Government agencies conduct only a smattering of controlled experiments to test policies in the justice system, education, welfare and so on. Why doesn't government want to learn?"

It is Manzi's belief that some in government do want to learn, and that a new federal agency dedicated to learning by experiment would serve as a useful injection of empiricism into policy-making.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Please follow Business Insider on Twitter and Facebook.


Masahiro Sakane Terry Leahy John W. Thompson Graham Mackay Mikael Lilius

Book Review: "Me 2.0"

Book Review: 'Me 2.0'EXCERPT: Many people believe that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Justin Beiber, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others.

Book Review: 'Me 2.0'

"Personal branding is about unearthing what is true and unique about you and letting everyone know about it. As a brand, you are your own free agent; you have the freedom to create the career path that links your talents and interests with the right position and the ability to move both vertically and horizontally, now and throughout your career."

Many people believe that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Justin Beiber, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. In Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future, author Dan Schawbel teaches business professionals how to survive and thrive in the digital age. He provides readers with many of the tools necessary for defining and achieving personal brand success.

Schawbel is one of the leading authorities on personal branding, and founder of the Personal Branding Blog. I first learned of him and his book a couple months ago when I came across a 2010 article that he authored for Tamar Weinberg's blog titled "How to Use Social Media for Personal Branding." I was so impressed by his work that I began searching for more of it until eventually I found his book on personal branding. Me 2.0 seemed right up my alley, and so I bought it.

Book Review

Branding is a topic that has always captivated me. It's the simple idea of a company's perceived value being, at times, greater than its actual value that interests me. Or, that reputation can have more influencing power than price. Or, that consumers can become so passionate about a brand that they'll happily defend it at the drop of a hat.

However, personal branding is a different animal altogether. Personal branding is the concept of branding oneself as if they were a product, service, or company. As brands, these individuals will market themselves, as well as their careers, education, and experiences, in a personal way so that they may influence their target market and build a relationship with them. Over the years I have become quite knowledgeable on the ideas surrounding personal branding, but this book provided me with a few additional points of views.

Schawbel uses his real life experiences to explain how he was able to create a powerful personal brand, and position himself to meet his personal and career goals. Furthermore, Schawbel offers practical advice for college students and young professionals who feel doubt, emotional stress, and fear of failure when approaching the current job market. In fact, one of the biggest takeaways for readers will likely be his 4-step program for commanding one's own career. This section features how to first discover and create one's own personal brand, and offers detailed examples for ways one can communicate and maintain their personal brand after it has been established.

Overall, Me 2.0 is a fairly good book. I found the it to be a rather short and easy read, with a few remarkable and actionable insights. However, I certainly wouldn't recommend it to just anyone. Those who are somewhat versed in personal branding may find the author to be overly obvious in his assessments, and that the book fails to deliver the one or two golden nuggets they so desire. Again, the book is good, but not for all audiences. In addition, I found that some of the methods and technology to be slightly outdated, but that's to be expected with time.

Personal branding isn't going anywhere, despite how technology evolves, and to compete now and in the future, one has to manage their brand. Those with confidence, drive, and the ability to use the full potential of modern technology - including creating a powerful personal brand to define themselves and achieve their goals - will be at the forefront of this bold new world. Me 2.0 will help to keep you ahead of the competition.


Gareth Davis William J. Doyle Benjamin Steinbruch Bart Becht Masahiro Sakane