Bitcoin Development Similar to
1800s Gold Rush
Present day Bitcoin and altcoin development
appear to be recounting a theory that played out in the early mining industry. As was the pattern during the actual gold rush of the 1800s, while some people took the risk and spent their time looking for gold, other folks watched on non-judgmentally and lucratively supplied the "picks and shovels" that enabled the fever-pitched masses to take a shot at "striking it big." Drawing on some similarities and contrasts between the actual "gold rush" and the new "digital gold rush" provides a good framework to describe how industries today are being impacted by Bitcoin. Bitcoin evangelist and technologist Melvin Petties explains how the emergence of Bitcoin has given rise to different kinds of related endeavors, pointing out the attitude of some key players and the impact on the crypto ecosystem.
Picks And Shovels Model: Industries That Make Equipment
According to Petties, in the olden days, the absolute quantity of precious metal was not known so the risk of participation was greater. The big rewards were random yet impactful – whole towns were built from major gold strikes, which made the lure to participate even greater. People from all walks of life, even the very poor, were compelled to participate and their chances of success were arguably relatively the same.
Fast forward to the present day, Petties notes that not just anybody can make a "pick and shovel" when it comes to Bitcoin mining.
“In fact, the technology is so coveted that for the years between 2013-2015 (Bitcoin good time days) most mining equipment providers were ultimately found to be fraudulent or irresponsible in how they pre-sold equipment but never delivered it.”
Petties explains that microchip shortages were always the common scapegoat. However, the real issue was that most people who knew how to make a real pick and shovel (ASIC chip-based mining computer) held onto the knowledge, built the product, mined with it for most of its practical lifetime (innovations were happening every month and the difficulty level was rising even more rapidly due to the rush of entrants) and then delivered it to the customer only when it was virtually worthless.
Wild West Days
Also, most other cloud mining or new mining equipment companies were either not worth the ROI at the time (if you were thinking short-term) or an elaborate pre-order scam/trap for victims. The latter was willing to send Bitcoin to anywhere in the world to receive a miner. Consumer protection was non-existent which made the "buyer beware" burden too heavy and often times a soul-crushing experience to be scammed. Compared to the gold rush of the 1800s, Petties notes that it was not possible to have a massive stealth mining operation. However, in the crypto age, that's exactly what a lot of companies did to cement their space and build a massive moat around themselves to eventually experiment with other value-added services to be built on top of the network that they breathed life into.
Me Too Shops
Another area of significant comparison in terms of activities surrounding the development of Bitcoin is the “value-added service industry.” Petties points out that in the 1800s during the gold rush, pop-up towns and communities were the norms. When a lucky team would strike a big vein they would ultimately reinvest the wealth back into the community, opening banks, general stores, parlors, salons and housing for the existent and soon to arrive patrons that would have certainly heard the news and set their sights to capture some of that same luck.
In the big booming Bitcoin days, this represents all of the "me too" shops that began to publicly accept Bitcoin and make a splash in the news. All the activity served to drive more and more VC money into the space as the community searched for "killer apps" that would live on top of Bitcoin and usher in Bitcoin 2.0 – streamlined payments, borderless markets, no remittances, etc. Ultimately, the most impacted industries were not retail due to the existing reluctance towards the mainstream adoption of the cryptocurrency.
Petties sees some positivity from the circumstances. He notes that what happened through all of that is the discovery of financial services as the real added value, namely legitimate exchanges that were run by competent folks who knew how to secure digital currency and could partner with banks and insurance companies to properly protect customer accounts. Petties concludes by explaining that because Bitcoin, as money, is Blockchain's first "killer app," the obvious industries that will shine will be those that facilitate the safe transfer of crypto and investment exposure – that is financial services. “I'm encouraged by the strides that the Winklevoss brothers have taken to make that a reality,” says Petties. “True pioneers in understanding the need to make digital currency safe and broadly available in a regulatory compliant way.”
Bitcoin, Ethereum Lead the Way as Cryptocurrencies Retreat into the Red
Cryptocurrency traders woke up to a sea of red this morning
, as 92 of the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap experienced a marked price decline. The bitcoin price led the retreat, falling over 6% toward $2,400. Bitcoin has declined almost $600 since it pierced the $3,000 barrier two weeks ago.
No Flippening Today
Bitcoin price declines always increase discussions about the “Flippening,” the potential future event when another cryptocurrency (presumably Ethereum) will supplant bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency by market cap. However, Ethereum has been dealing with its own problems. On June 22, it experienced a flash crash on GDAX, although it quickly recovered. More worrisome is the fact that Ethereum is experiencing network congestion and has yet to implement a long-term solution. Consequently, the ethereum price has fared even worse than bitcoin. In the past 24 hours, the ethereum price fell 13% to $285.23. Ethereum too has been experiencing an elongated price decline, having fallen nearly $130 since it hit $410 on June 12. Significantly, ethereum’s ~$26.5 billion market cap is now only 63% of bitcoin’s ~$41.8 billion market cap.
Massacre Extends to Altcoins
The Monday Massacre did not stop with bitcoin and ethereum; altcoins are down across the board. Not even litecoin, which has experienced a price resurgence over the past several months, could swim against the current. The litecoin price fell 9.87% to $41.29. It has fallen nearly 20% since it topped out at $50 leading up to its listing on BitStamp.But the massacre did not stop there Only eight of the top 100 cryptocurrencies managed to avoid the bloodbath. Thirtieth-ranked Byteball was the largest cryptocurrency to experience a price increase, just barely moving the needle 1.84% to $781.20. Tether, MCAP, LEOCoin, OBITS, and Mooncoin each managed to tread water or increase slightly.
Lest one attribute the altcoin price decline to the fact that most altcoins rely on bitcoin as their major trading pair, the price charts look nearly as bad when you switch from USD to BTC. Nearly every altcoin declined against bitcoin. The lone standout in the top 100 was 54th-ranked CloakCoin, whose price rose 41% to $10.09 (.0037 BTC). This is a new all-time high for CloakCoin, who previously rose to a high of .0033 BTC in late July 2014 before crashing in August and September.
A Bump in the Road or Cause for Concern?
Mainstream economists and news outlets rush to pronounce bitcoin’s impending doom every time it experiences a price decline, so don’t be surprised if you see some trigger-happy “Is This the End for Bitcoin?” headlines pop up in your newsfeed if the downward trend continues. Nevertheless, it is far more likely this market downturn is just a bump in the road for cryptocurrency prices. That said, both Bitcoin and Ethereum are facing scaling difficulties and will need to implement long-term solutions. Bitcoin’s test will come with the upcoming Segwit2x activation. All signs indicate Bitcoin will avoid a network fork on August 1, but any unexpected developments could lead to price volatility.
Factors Pushing Bitcoin Prices
Higher in 2017
For newcomers to the market looking to make a quick win, the rollercoaster of a year has probably been a time of scratching heads and possibly a few tears shed. For the long-term investor, however, these periods are part of the journey and opportune times to snap up some more coins when the price takes a dip. Despite the precautionary cries of ‘bursting bubbles’, these market corrections are an anticipated occurrence.
Legislative Changes for Cryptos
Earlier this year, Japan announced that as of 1 April 2017, the country would recognise bitcoin as legal tender and make the provisions for administrative and accounting systems to be enhanced for cryptocurrency transactions to take place seamlessly. This was undoubtedly the major contributing factor to an initial surge in the price as Japanese individuals and corporations alike scrambled on exchanges to secure bitcoin for future purchases. Hundreds of thousands of retailers in the area are said to be equipping themselves to accept bitcoin payments, with a low cost airline, Peach, becoming the first commercial carrier to directly offer consumers tickets paid in bitcoin.
Australia quickly followed suit, announcing accelerated amendments to legislation that eliminated the incumbent double taxation on digital currency transactions. As it stands, Australians using bitcoin for transactions are liable for the 10% goods and services tax (GST) plus a further 10% tax for using ‘intangible property’ as a payment medium. Come 1 July 2017, these transactions will only attract GST, and be exempt from further taxation, no doubt fuelling a greater adoption of digital currency transactions. The proactive progression by these countries certainly paves the way for others to learn from their integration and regulatory practices, empowering mainstream bitcoin adoption, which naturally pushes the price higher as demand increases.
Scaling Debate Resolution
The scaling debate has been a long-standing hurdle for Bitcoin growth. The decentralised nature of bitcoin, which naturally is one of its most appealing qualities, presents some challenges when it comes to governance of remedial action. In an ecosystem where no single entity can dictate changes to the framework, a majority consensus must be reached. The fact remains that Bitcoin needs to scale from its current transactional capacity in order to meet the demands placed on the network in terms of the growing number of transactions, as the current block size is impeding quick and cost-effective transactions.
Whilst several proposals have been put forward, the Bitcoin community have yet to come to agreement on a viable solution that satisfies the majority, while at the same time doing what is best for the wider user base. In May 2017, at the annual Consensus conference, held in New York, an agreement has been signed by a ‘critical mass of the bitcoin ecosystem’ that set out a plan for the adoption of SegWit with a planned hard fork to a 2MB blocksize within six months. While further clarity is needed, it would appear that we may finally come to a point of breaking the stalemate, which will contributing factor in Bitcoin being able to advance and reach its full potential.
Economic and Political Uncertainty
One of Bitcoin’s undeniable drivers of growth are citizens who have lost confidence in their country’s ability to maintain sound economic and political policies, and desperately seek to establish their own sense of financial freedom outside the manipulation of governments.
Take Venezuela for example. An overly aggressive expansionary monetary policy has resulted in hyperinflation, which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to reach an explosive 1,660% this year. This has led to an unparalleled economic and social crisis. The removal of the 100 Bolivar note (the largest denomination and still worth only a few US cents) from circulation in December 2016 alongside the lack of availability of the planned 500 to 20,000 Bolivar notes, led to widespread chaos and violent protests amongst Venezuelans, who for the most part were heavily reliant on cash but were effectively left without money for weeks on end.
It is reported that the minimum wage is around 200,000 Bolivars, yet a single basket of groceries costs in the region of 770,000 Bolivars, nearly 4 times the minimum monthly wage. Whilst the government provide some subsidised basic goods, the ‘outlets’ have become hotspots for vicious crime and citizens have to weigh up the risks of cheaper food against the dangers that face them in the queues. This is what happens when people reach such levels of despair to survive. The alarming surge in crimes such as kidnapping and murder leave most Venezuelans living in fear for their lives on a daily basis, with little in the way of respite.
India is another prime example, where the most recent, and possibly most extreme case of a modern-day war on cash occurred in December 2016. Under the pretence of curbing criminal action and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi effectively wiped out 86% of notes in circulation overnight, when he announced the demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 Rupee notes with immediate effect. Exchange was possible, but within a limited time frame and only up to a certain amount, the rest having to be processed via a bank account. This, in a country where almost half its population has no access to formal banking, let alone a bank account. This is just one of the reasons bitcoin holds such appeal in tempestuous economic climates. With Bitcoin, you are assured a level of financial security your money is removed from the coercion of the centralised system, therefore protecting your wealth from political agendas, damaging inflation and capital controls.
Increased Inflow of Institutional Money
Financial institutions, who are historically wary about Bitcoin are increasingly showing signs of interest in the digital asset. When compared to the performance of stock markets and fiat currencies, combined with more and more regulatory structure coming into place, it is unsurprising that institutional money has started flow into the crypto-economy. Regulation is arguably one of the largest barriers to cryptocurrency investment for institutions. Two nations, in particular, have been influential in this regard; Sweden and Japan. Sweden was one of the first movers in terms of a regulated Bitcoin investment. Back in May 2015, the KnC Group launched the world’s first ‘Bitcoin Tracker’ known as an exchange-traded note (ETN), which is publicly traded on a regulated exchange. This represented massive progress for Bitcoin at the time and essentially opened the market for institutions and private individuals to gain a regulated exposure to Bitcoin.
The ETN is designed to mirror the price movements of the underlying asset being USD/BTC. The company offering the ETN, XBT Provider, is required to hold the equivalent number of bitcoins as the number of ETN’s issued. In other words, when a financial institution or private investor purchases, XBT Provider has to purchase the same amount of bitcoins to back up the note. Earlier this month, Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest brokerage, announced that their clients would be able to access the ETN via their SIPP and brokerage accounts. This has opened the doors for retail and institutional investors to gain a regulated Bitcoin exposure in the UK.
As mentioned earlier, Japan has played a crucial role in moving bitcoin into the mainstream. This move has provided institutional players with the much-needed vote of confidence required before they got on board. Russia and India are looking likely to be the next countries to announce positive legislation after an increase in interest within the regions. This will further stimulate institutional investment into Bitcoin, leading to a stronger and more prosperous market for all.
Perhaps this can be linked back to the fact that with growing interest, and impressive growth, the media have been covering Bitcoin more and more frequently, exposing it to a wider audience. Personally, I have had more and more dinner table discussions about Bitcoin with friends, family, ex-colleagues and acquaintances, outside of the ‘cryptocurrency world’, all now showing interest in Bitcoin.
It was this month that the Wall Street Journal mentioned Bitcoin on its front page, highlighting that Bitcoin has had a strong 2017. This mainstream recognition for Bitcoin’s performance has been long awaited and will be a stimulus for continual momentum. It was only 2 years ago that most of the mainstream news stations were reporting Bitcoin’s demise. What a turn of events it has been. The factors I have outlined above are merely a few of the positive fundamentals Bitcoin has going for it. Driving demand, expanding its utility and subsequently, increasing its value and price. So yes, I am confident when I say that Bitcoin will continue to break through all time highs and find favour above the $3,000 mark before the bells ring in 2018.
The Cannabis Industry, the Blockchain, and Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin
a New High
Cannabis has been legalized in numerous states
across the United States. However, the cannabis industry is still plagued with limited access to banking services as traditional banks want to avoid dealing with businesses that engage in business activities that are still largely illegal under federal law. That is where cryptocurrencies could offer a solution.
Due to the loosening of anti-cannabis laws across America, the legal weed retail industry has grown quickly over the years and is expected to keep growing rapidly as more states debate and decide on its legality. Both the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis has been legalized in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and the District of Columbia, while the medical use of cannabis has also been legalized in an additional 20 states across the US. In late 2016, leading investment bank Cowen and Company published a report on the Cannabis industry titled, “The Cannabis Compendium: Cross-Sector Views on a Budding Industry” which postulates that the industry would grow to $50 billion by the year 2026.
However, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, most legal dispensaries are having to conduct purely cash-based business, given most banks and other financial institutions will not allow them access to financial services as a result of regulatory constrictions. This leaves weed retailers vulnerable to theft, which criminals have exploited, as evidenced by statistics on dispensary robberies. The blockchain industry is looking to remedy this. Due to the decentralized nature and inherent security of the blockchain, it offers a unique selling proposition as a payments solution for the cannabis industry.
Dennis Rodman Gives PotCoin a New High
PotCoin was created in 2014 to cater to the needs of the unbanked cannabis industry. The coin works on a proof of stake system with an Annual Percentage Interest (APR) of five percent. The coin also boasts fast processing time with relatively low fees. Though the coin has exhibited steady growth in its three years of existence, there has been a substantial spike in its price this week due to its sponsorship of retired Basketball star and Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea.
According to PotCoin spokesperson Shawn Perez, the main reason for the sponsorship of Rodman’s trip was to support “Dennis Rodman's mission to bring peace to the world." Though the visit does not seem to have any visible ties to the cannabis industry, PotCoin has benefitted from the media attention that has surrounded Rodman’s journey to North Korea. According to Coin Market Cap, the coin has shown over 70 percent growth, from just below $0.10 to $0.17 since the sponsorship was announced.
Washington-based bitcoin startup POSaBIT has created a financial platform that allows customers at weed retailers to make purchases using their regular credit cards. The platform uses bitcoin as an intermediate payment system. Jon Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT explained: “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.” The technology facilitates customers’ quick and easy access to bitcoin at the point of sale who can then use the digital currency anywhere that it is accepted. The platform is already in use by 30 dispensaries in the state of Washington.
The platform is attractive to cash-only merchants who want to accept another form of payment, retailers that want to be seen as more technologically savvy so as to differentiate themselves from the competition, and for small businesses that want to maximize profits by capitalizing on digital currencies’ low transaction fees. The technology is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations while complying with laws regulating the cannabis trade. Since the platform reduces the reliance on cash as a medium of exchange, it is making dispensaries safer working environments for employees as there is less of an incentive for theft.
SinglePoint and First Bitcoin Capital
Holding company SinglePoint and blockchain technology provider First Bitcoin Capital announced a partnership on June 6. The joint venture agreement aims to create an efficient and workable payments solution for cannabis retailers using blockchain technology. Greg Lambrecht, SinglePoint CEO, explained: "In January 2014 SinglePoint announced and started working on a bitcoin payment solution, shortly after we recognized the issue of minimal user adoption of digital currency. The payments industry has rapidly changed since that time. There is now tremendous momentum and demand for bitcoin acceptance as an alternative form of payment.
This Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital is perfect timing. Bitcoin payments are catching on, and cannabis dispensaries need a solution fast." SinglePoint has previously worked with leading companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon on technology integration systems that have allowed for a more robust use of communication technology as a payment solution. The company now hopes to use this experience to create a workable solution for weed retailers.
Greg Rubin of First Bitcoin Capital stated: "We are optimistic that our partnership with SinglePoint will produce positive cash flow to our bottom line. Between the two of our companies, we will have the ability to develop a best in class solution, and SinglePoint will be able to help in distribution. We look forward to providing cutting-edge products and services to all states through the establishment of this new venture." “As with the massive and widespread adoption of Bitcoin worldwide, the two companies will pursue opportunities to leverage their payment technology background and develop a proprietary solution specifically for high-risk payment verticals including the cannabis industry.” the press release adds.
The two companies believe they have found a way for a smooth customer experience at the point of sale at weed dispensaries. Using SinglePoints’ technology integration experience and First Bitcoin Capital’s tech background, the company will create an “all-encompassing payment solution” for the retail cannabis industry. The platform will be easy to integrate into the existing point of sale machinery through a simple download. With the retail cannabis industry set to grow quickly in the coming years and the continuing lack of regulatory support at the federal level, it seems like the industry will have to rely on blockchain technology and digital currencies to facilitate easy trade and to securely store its profits.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, sell you rainbows and unicorns or tell you that becoming an entrepreneur will make you instantly rich. And I’m definitely not going to tell you that it’s easy. Starting your own business is HARD. The biggest component to success is a high-risk tolerance.
I have repeatedly struggled to find my footing, pay bills and get everything set up before finally finding a workable formula.
The business itself is easy to create. I’ve written about how to quickly set up an online money-maker for yourself. I’ve even put together some ideas and specific examples for you to help you come up with an idea.
It’s the cultivation of the business that takes time and energy. No matter how great your idea is, it will not flower by itself. You have to nurture it.
And that’s the problem. Nurturing takes TIME. Lot’s and lot’s of time, attention, care and energy.
My goal is to help you harness the digital power to make yourself money with as little effort as possible. We all know the major themes: create products, share value with people, make income. But it’s not exactly a linear process, is it?
So how do you make a relatively smooth transition from corporate employee to automated/digitized entrepreneur without going destitute?
You have to start with the middle road: freelancing.
The bottom line is this – you need time to set up your business. Most corporate jobs have schedules that don’t really allow for the type of time you need to build content, products, relationships and skills.
What I did: In the transition period between quitting my job at Longhorn Steakhouse in Atlanta, making $2 an hour, to creating my digital empire out of my office in gorgeous Santa Monica, I worked as a contracted online freelancer. I got to create my own schedule, meet a bunch of interesting people, and do something that I loved (or at least liked a lot).
And the biggest perk of all? I could charge a LOT more money.
Most corporate jobs are salaried – so they’re going to max you out and overwork you for the same pay.
Hourly jobs can be low-paying by their very nature. The more money you make per hour, the less the company wants you to work. It’s a catch-22. But as a freelancer, none of this applies to you. You set your own schedule and you set your own rates.
Inevitably, this is where the objections start to crop up:
“I have no idea what I would do. I’m not good at coming up with ideas.”
“I don’t have any valuable skills. I just have my job-specific skills.”
“My market is already saturated. There are better people doing what I do.”
“Nobody will pay for what I know when they can just teach themselves.”
(These are exact copy and pastes from fans and readers who follow my work.)
What are your skills?
There are literally HUNDREDS of things you can do that are enjoyable and that other people will PAY you for. Start thinking about where you could mine your talent for freelance skill:
- What do people consistently ask you for help or advice in?
- Do you have any unique skills, talents, hobbies or abilities?
- What areas of life have you excelled to an “advanced” or even “intermediate” level?
- What skills ideas interest you enough to learn, and then teach to others?
- Could you work independently doing what you do now at your current job?
- Do you have any friends with talents that compliment yours? Maybe you could team up.
Best to learn by example, I think. Here’s how I did it.
When I first started freelancing, I was working at Longhorn Steakhouse (I’m basically a steak aficionado now). I was also working for Kaplan Test Prep.
My steak skills weren’t worth much. But my Kaplan skills were. I realized that people were paying $100+ per hour for me to tutor their student one-on-one. You won’t believe how much I was making…$18/hour!
And the worst part was…I THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD WAGE!!
Our perceptions are skewed because minimum wage is $7.25. So we think that anything significantly higher than that is good money. The reality is, $7.25 isn’t even livable. You probably need a minimum of $20/hour to make it out here.
But when I really sat down to think about it…I just got INFURIATED.
Here I was, doing all the teaching, grading, talking, communicating with parents, driving from school to school while Kaplan just sat back remotely and took 82% of my money.
Since I as the one with the skill, I needed to be the one making the money. I knew I could make this work on my own and cut out the middle man.
So I bided my time. I looked around, I made some calls.
I found a partner who was also interested in getting a freelance education business going. He was the consulting side, I was the teaching side. Together we knocked down doors, created classes and started making money. A lot more of it.
First, I quit Kaplan. Didn’t want any conflict of interest. Then, as soon as the restaurant started to get in the way of my new endeavor, I quit that as well.
When I quit both jobs, I wasn’t making quite as much with the new business…but the projections were giving me a solid indication that things would pick up quickly. So I just took the leap.
Want to Be More Influential? Improve Your Social Skills.
Improving your Social skills is no longer a choice! It is a must if you want to be in marketing. Dale Carnegie got it right when he said that to win more friends and influence more people you need to improve your interpersonal skills. Twenty years of research on power and influence shows that people with superior social skills are substantially more influential than people with average social skills. These findings make sense when you realize that influence is not something you have; it’s something other people give you. In other words, you can’t be influential with people unless they allow you to be influential with them. So influence is in large part a function of your relationship with other people, and the rule of thumb on influence is that you are likely to be more successful if the people you want to influence know you, like you, respect you, and trust you.
It is significantly easier to influence people you know than people you don’t. So go out of your way to make yourself known. If you’re in an organization, this means increasing your visibility throughout the organization. Introduce yourself to people. As you get to know them, let them know who you are. My research shows that people are who highly skilled at being friendly and sociable with strangers and building close relationships are more than twice as influential as people who are less skilled at sociability and relationship building. People around the world instinctively understand this, which is why socializing is one of the most frequently used influence techniques globally. If you aren’t naturally good at socializing, then this is a key skill to build. Extraverts are often naturally good at socializing, but being an introvert is not necessarily a liability. You may just have to try harder to do something that does not come naturally to you.
Sometimes, you know the person you want to influence but aren’t as influential as you’d like with him or her because of bad chemistry. Many years ago when I was younger and single a friend introduced me to a young woman, and she and I dated for a while. She was a nice, attractive person, and we tried to be a couple but it just didn’t work. Somehow, we got on each other’s nerves and whatever either of us said or did was somehow wrong. There was no chemistry between us, and it wasn’t her fault or mine. We just weren’t a good match for each other. So it goes. In my three decades in business I’ve had similar situations with some colleagues and clients. Despite everyone’s good intentions, the plain fact is that there’s something about the other person each of you just doesn’t like.
I wrote in The Elements of Power(Amacom Books, 2011) that attraction can be a significant source of power, and it’s based partly on the psychological principle of liking. We are more inclined to say yes to people we like than to people we don’t, which is why friends are more likely to do favors for each other than they are for people they don’t know. So to be more influential, do what you can to be more likeable to the people you want to influence. Of course, we each have whatever physical gifts (or challenges) we were born with, but you should do the best you can with what you have. Good grooming, posture, dress, and manners go a long way toward making you more attractive to others. In business, as well as many other walks of life, these things matter. The same is true with interpersonal behaviors that people like:friendliness, generosity, warmth, caring, and acceptance. When we act with these qualities, people are more inclined to like us. Conversely, if we are pushy, arrogant, boastful, self-centered, rude, disrespectful, or otherwise annoying, people will be inclined to dislike us. Personality is a key component of likeability.
Being Respected and Trusted
Trust and respect are largely about character, credibility, and confidence. You build character through courage, integrity, reliability, and similar character traits; you build credibility through your knowledge, access to information, role, and reputation (of which work ethic, results, and contributions are a significant factor); and you build confidence by behaving self-confidently, achieving consistently superior results, making good decisions, and exercising sound judgment. If you are a member of a business or professional organization, people will also trust and respect you more if you are actively involved, engaged, and comitted to the enterprise. To become highly influential, it helps to be well-liked, well-regarded, and indispensable.
Fortunately, none of us is born with a fixed amount of power and influence. No matter who you are, you can become more powerful and more influential, and one of the keys is improving your interpersonal and social skills. For more tips on how to do this, see Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead(Amacom Books, 2011) or my earlier book, What People Want (Davies-Black, 2006). Also see Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which he first published in 1936 but is still relevant today.
Parts of this article are excerpted from Terry R. Bacon, Elements of Influence: The Art of Getting Others to Follow Your Lead (NY: AMACOM Books, 2011).
Photo credits: Friends in a bar: Sean Locke/istockphoto.com. Young businesswoman: Maridav/istockphoto.com. Business people looking at a chart: Jacob Wackerhausen/istockphoto.com.
SURVIVING PRISON – How to survive prison
SURVIVING PRISON – How to survive prison
Nothing can be more difficult for a prison inmate than walking into the penitentiary for the first time. I know, I was once an inmate in a Texas state prison. New prison offenders often experience extreme confusion, fear and anxiety. The cold sound of slamming bars and hollering echoes as correctional officers are escorting you to your cell. As a reformed ex-convict and son of a loving and concerned family who stood by me through out my 13 year sentence, I am inspired to share my knowledge of how to survive prison. I know there are thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who are in desperate need of advice because they have a loved-one currently doing time in prison. You may consider printing out this article and mailing it to your incarcerated loved-one so that he or she is able to survive prison as I did.
Prison is what you make of it. It can serve as a beneficial learning experience or it can be a living hell. That’s right; every inmate who walks into prison has a choice. An inmate can survive prison by simply following prison administration rules and respecting both officers and fellow prisoners. What every prison offender needs to understand is that you committed a crime. You offended another human being so in the eyes of society you are an offender and will be referred to as such by prison staff and officers. Nobody likes to be referred to as an “offender” but there’s absolutely nothing you can do or say to change that fact, unless of coarse you are released from prison. Inmates who get angry of the way officers treat them need to realize that prison is designed to punish criminals, not pamper them. Ask yourself this question. If the life of your own brother was robbed by the hands of a killer, would you want correctional officers to baby the offender? Inmates who are blind to that reality and who expect royal treatment behind bars are either cold-blooded sociopaths or just too stupid to live. Not only do offenders like these (and there are many) make life harder on themselves by refusing to follow the direct orders of officers, but they make life a living hell for their loved-ones who worry about them. Inmates who whine, cry and complain over their situation are not ready to be released back into society. Society can not afford the risk of releasing back into the streets an adolescence-minded adult-criminal who may very well offend again. Prison officials have a place specifically for all problem offenders. Unruly offenders are housed in special maximum security pods reserved for dangerous high risk inmates. It is there where officers become the least of a stubborn inmates problems and it is there where one must now deal with dangerous adult gang members with rascal mentalities. So yes, you do have a choice!
TELL ME WHO YOUR FRIENDS ARE AND I’LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE
New inmates often feel the need to fit in. They seek friendship from just about anyone in prison. Choose your friends wisely. The least, the better. Mature minded convicts who mind their own business and follow administration rules are probably a new inmates best bet. Hang around convicts who keep out of trouble, who have productive hobbies or who go to religious services. Stay independent. You were born with two legs, not four or eight so theres no need to help fight your friends battles. A good friend is solid-minded enough to fight his or her own fight so if you come across an instigator who asks you to assist them in their conflict, avoid them.
IT’S ALL ABOUT RESPECT
Sometimes conflicts are inevitable, after all you are housed in an environment of convicted criminals of every kind. If you come across a situation where an other offender is giving you a hard time, try talking to him or her. Be respectful. There is absolutely nothing you need to prove so don’t feed into their hostility. You are not a coward for avoiding a fight. You are in fact brave if you are able to approach the offender alone. Yes, make sure the offender is alone and calmly and respectfully explain to him or her that you have nothing against them and that you would like to apologize for anything that may have offended them. Trouble-making convicts are often egotistical so that may neutralize his or her aggression towards you. It is rare that this respectful tactic will not work. If it does not work and the offender persists, calmly walk away and avoid any eye contact with him or her. Ignore any insults and resist the urge to respond. It takes more will-power to resist a fight than it does to actually throw a punch. Walk away knowing that you are strong. You will one day be a free person after you serve your time.
HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL AND SPEAK NO EVIL
Most, if not all prison fights start over gossip. Prison is boring so many offenders find that gossip is the next best thing to do. Avoid these offenders and their friends. Refraining from gossip may just save your life.
A STRONG BODY EQUALS A STRONG MIND
Exercise will not only keep your mind healthy, but it will make your body strong. Penitentiary bully’s like to pick on the weak. You have nothing but time so release your inner frustrations with a lot of exercise. Avoid being a couch potato and avoid junk food. Eat the beans and greens on your food tray. Feed your mind, body and soul.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Read, read and read. Reading informative newspapers, magazines and books will empower your mind. Not only will it take your mind out of prison but it will make your brain stronger. A strong brain knows how to deal with tough situations. A strong mind can see further and the further you see, the easier it is to avoid problems in prison. A well read mind knows that one day YOU will be free just like me, a man who did 13 years in prison. So let the gossiping prison gangsters and offender bully’s keep the penetentiary they so desperatly want to control. They can have it! You will be free one day and no longer will you be referred to as an “offender”. Life will be good. Trust me.
CMO Markethive Inc.
Ex-Con Anonymous 1994-2007
Harnessing collective knowledge
Markethive’s social collaboration can bring collective knowledge to bear on a problem the company is trying to solve, or to satisfy customer needs. A multinational petrochemical company needed to be able to accurately answer very technical questions about how to set up production lines for a wide range of complex intermediary products that are crucial in the production of a particular end-user product.
The ability to answer those questions, therefore, is critical to the sale of thousands of tons of the product for one of Ferrazzi Greenlight’s clients. Multiply that need over literally thousands of products, and your enterprise faces a serious complexity challenge.
Our client chose one of the best ways to handle such complexity: By establishing internal wikis (purpose-built websites containing content that can be collaboratively edited and updated) that could be constantly updated by a small army of expert volunteers within the company who document everything required to support internal and customer questions about production.
While it takes time to establish a comprehensive set of wikis – and a culture of contributing to them – companies that succeed in doing so often see internal subject matter experts vying with each other to provide the best/most complete expert information.
This is competition focused on excellence in results – a win/ win if ever there was one.
Other companies use social collaboration very effectively to tap outside experts to deliver high-quality, just-in-time services. A great example is Specialists On Call (SOC), an agency with facilities in Virginia and California that contracts with 270 hospitals nationwide.
For example, when one of the participating hospitals has a patient arrive in emergency and the doctors determine he needs to see a cardiologist, the hospital contacts Specialists On Call, and an experienced cardiologist not only speaks with the patient through video-conferencing almost immediately, she’s able to do a “virtual examination” by directing the attending clinical staff or physician to perform a number of diagnostic procedures while the cardiologist observes.
SOC claims it can cost 40 percent less than the cost of locally based on-call specialists, increase caseload capacity, empower local specialists by relieving on-call burdens, and even result in lower malpractice premiums due to its round the-clock availability and adherence to best practice protocols.
Too often, social-media collaboration is implemented in its own silo without strong business process connections.
Here’s how to maximize the impact of social-media tools on business results:
•Identify the processes that will most benefit, and pilot social media integration with those teams. Lead with these process improvement examples when you release your social media tool more broadly; that’s the main driver for the investment.
• Resist implementing social media as a stand-alone tool. Integrating it with your tools for communication, collaboration, and/or process flow ensures discussions are relevant to and can positively impact process and/or project participants.
• Explore tools that make exchanges in social media, email and other collaboration tools searchable, and filter automatically based on context. Separating social chit-chat from exchanges relevant to the project at each meeting or milestone creates a cohesive collaboration record and brings participants up to speed quickly.
CMO Markethive Inc
ADDING VIDEO TO YOUR WEBSITE
A lot of people ask us how they can add or upload videos to their WordPress site. It’s simpler than you think.
While WordPress does allow for the option to upload videos and other media, this can get messy and tricky as you deal with different browsers, operating systems and devices. Instead, we recommend that you embed videos from a different source — something like YouTube or Vimeo.
YouTube will allow you to reach a larger audience, while Vimeo will allow for more customization, and “white-labeling” if you upgrade to its Pro subscription.
Each service will allow you to Share or Embed, and will give you a URL or iFrame code to put directly into your editing window in WordPress. If you’re using an iFrame code, make sure you are on the Text/HTML tab of the editing window, not the Visual editor.
If you have Jetpack installed as a plugin, the process is even easier. You can simply add a shortcode in the Visual editor with the video URL. For example:
You can also customize the width and height using this method, by adding the query parameter for “w” ( width ) and “h” (height) &w= and &h= to the shortcode.
You can do the same with Vimeo and several other services. Want to see what’s supported?Click here to view the Jetpack Shortcode Embeds page.
CMO Markethive Inc.