Monday, November 17, 2008

Best Practices for Business Social Networking.

Hi Again.  A lot of my clients are asking me:
"What are the best practices for business social networking?"
So, I'm submitting the following brief assessment, with more to come I'm sure.  First, I'm recommending that businesses set up their own social network.  See to learn more about a free service that you can link to from your main site.  And, if you don't already have a blog to showcase your expertise, and allow prospective clients to 1) easily find you online and 2) "get to know you" by reading your published thoughts, you'll want to seriously consider starting a blog.  
Many small businesses can develop a much stronger presence online, reach more prospective clients, and send out the right message when prospective clients do a background check on the business owner(s).  If small business owners are smart, they will recognize the need to be aware of industry trends.  In what are the larger companies investing?  Is it important for a small business to adapt to the market?  I'd suggest that those small businesses who do not place themselves in front of their prospective clients, whether online or offline, are far less likely to attract new clients.  Larger companies invest a lot of money into following consumer behavior in order to generate leads.  Let's take a look at what the trends are in general... then, you'll want to study the bigger players in your industry.

Industry Trends

See the above graphic as it relates to the below quote from Forrester Research regarding the affect of social networking on businesses.  They said...

"In a new report written for the market research firm, as detailed by Larry Dignan at CNET's sibling site ZDNet, analyst G. Oliver Young predicts that "Enterprise 2.0" applications--buttoned-up versions of the Web 2.0 apps we all know and love--will be a $4.6 billion industry by 2013. Social networks, Young wrote, will make up the bulk of that, with nearly $2 billion invested in them.

This means we'll probably see a lot of intra-company networking tools (souped-up corporate directories, for example, or internal forums) as well as more interactive varieties of technical support. Not surprisingly, Young's report predicts the biggest adopters will be large companies where you can't just stroll over to the HR or IT folks for a little face time, and where instituting collaborative tools from 37Signals or Zoho could speed things up when not everyone's based in the same building (or time zone).

Smaller businesses, meanwhile, seemed a bit skeptical. Sixty-eight percent of small businesses (fewer than 99 employees) surveyed by Forrester said that they had no intention of instituting "Enterprise 2.0" applications, compared with 51 percent of global companies (20,000+ employees) who said they were already actively buying them up.

Behind social networking, the Forrester report asserts that the "Enterprise 2.0" landscape of 2013 will consist of mashups ($682 million), RSS technologies ($563 million), wikis ($451 million), blogs ($340 million), and podcasting ($273 million)."

That's a lot to invest in social media.  How is your small business going to navigate these new waters?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A few thoughts on Ambition and developing a Mindset for Success

Noble Ambition Creates True Prosperity

Ambition for becoming rich should include a desire to help others. You want to love people and use money, not the other way around! As a business owner, it is wise to think of one's self as a “Philanthropic Entrepreneur.” Philanthropy literally means “love of people.” The common way of saying it is describing someone as a “Social Entrepreneur.” But, I don't feel that Social Entrepreneur truly describes these noble and very giving people. When someone is so successful that they start to help others, they do so out of the goodness of their heart. It is out of a love of humanity and the joy that they feel while unselfishly helping others that these entrepreneurs are deemed philanthropists.

I believe it is perfectly acceptable—confirmed by any ethical principle in any philosophical or spiritual tradition available—for you to acquire all the money you can, so long as you are improving in some way your community or country or the world. Only those who foolishly think their actions are without consequence will seek financial gain by acting against the interests of others.

Opportunities in Life come by Creation, not by Chance

You created them with your thoughts and past actions. Whether or not you believe in the law of karma (most of the population of the planet DOES, by the way!), you do need to begin studying psychology enough to get yourself out of negative thought patterns that produce a life that is “stuck in a rut.” Do you feel like you are almost uncontrollably making the same mistakes over and over again? Having the same emotions of frustration and anger as a result of mis-managing your money or your small business marketing?

Well... I have good news for you!

You have unlimited powers that flow from the innermost forces of your being. It is worth investing some time into introspection. The return on your investment will produce more true freedam than nearly any other pursuit. You see, you achieve success or failure according to your habitual trend of thought.

Most of our decision and behaviors don't happen consciously, they happen in the subconscious mind. Only when you begin to study your unconscious thoughts and beliefs will you be able to think correctly regarding everything you do. Your mind is, literally, the creator of your world. And, it is not your passing inspirations or brilliant ideas so much as your everyday mental habits that control your life.

Devote your entire will power to mastering one thing at a time; do not scatter your energies, nor leave something half-done to being a new venture. If you devote your attention to a single-minded focus on mastering your inner game, you'll master your outer game much faster.

So, with love in your heart, a clear conscience, and supportive mental habits, the entrepreneur is setting him or herself up on a firm foundation for true and lasting prosperity.

If you are a new entrepreneur or if you are a seasoned business owners whose sales are down, feel free to contact me for a risk-free initial consultation.  Visit: and submit your information.  You'll love doing business with me.  I guarantee that you'll make more money in your small business.  You only pay me a small portion of your INCREASED sales!  How's that for an irresistible offer?!  Again, feel free to visit: and submit your information... I look forward to speaking with you soon!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Possibilities: Persistence guarantees success is inevitable

If you think you are beaten, you already are.
If you think you dare not, you don't. 
If you'd like to win, but, you think you can't, 
It's already a cinch you won't.  

If you think you'll loose, you've already lost, 
For in the end you'll find that  
Success comes from more than talent 
It's a matter of heart and mind.  

Some people quit when the going gets tough, 
"It's just too hard!" they cry. 
Winners get up when they fall down 
and are always willing to try.  

Think that you can and you will! 
Remember, it's up to you. 
The possibilities are endless! 
You can do whatever you choose!  

So, have a positive attitude. 
Give your best right from the start. 
And last but not least, have courage 
To always follow your heart!

This is a poem that I use in my inspiring character education / comedy juggling show for youth and young adults. You can look me up on YouTube under Andrew Barden: Eccentric Juggler to view the promo video.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Video Testimonials Convert Browsers into Leads

Hi again.

If you are a small business owner, 99% of the time you really must have a website (very very few exceptions to this rule). And, if you MUST have a website, you'll want to design it to produce the results you want.

The following brief article is a quick introduction for SERVICE based businesses more than PRODUCT based businesses, even though the principles apply to both.

As you can imagine, it is helpful to provide what sales psychologists call "social proof," which is a fancy way to call testimonials. Written testimonials are about 10% helpful. Add pictures and you double their effectiveness to 20%. Ultimately, they are good to have but not very effective.

However, video testimonials are 100% helpful in converting viewers/browsers into leads. What that means is that browsers are persuaded enough to give you their contact information, moving from a browser to a very warm if not "hot and fresh" lead. Then, it is your job to make sure that either you or your sales team views those emails or new entries into your CRM (Client Relationship Management) software online and immediately call them or email them or both.

Why video testimonials?

Browsers are FAR more likely to watch well edited video testimonial interview clips than they are to read anything. Written ad copy is certain essential for websites... for those 2% who are actually "readers." Give them a free e-book that is one long fun story about how your clients received benefits from working with you.

98% of web visitors don't read anymore online, they scan. Don't you? Busy professionals who are likely to hire you are not very likely to sit and read. If you are doing online marketing that sends people (strangers) to your page (versus offline marketing that expose people to you either in person or via TV, etc.,) you've got 7-10 seconds to convince someone to stay on your page if they don't know you yet. A video will keep them there, give them eye candy, and convince them based on the BENEFITS received from your coaching clients and speaking engagement participants.

BENEFITS SELL, FEATURES TELL. Your "welcome to my website intro" is basically a feature of what you are like when speaking either one-on-one or in front of a group. It will need to showcase the benefits of hiring you versus others. It gives watchers a sense of your "energy," so they'll know what to expect when they talk to you. It would be helpful to even add some unique content to the video each week, as it will be a good reason to draw prospective clients to the site to get a freebie, but, you'll need to wrap it up with a benefit driven testimonial clips from your most fanatical clients.

Finally, the people giving the testimonials must speak extemporaniously-- i.e. they can't sound scripted. If they have any hint of a script, it will damage their perceived sincerity. Too many infomercials on TV or radio sound very scripted, and we tend to simply not believe them.

Remember, everyone is tuned into the WIFM station, and you need to answer that question quickly when you first engage someone whether online or offline. What's In It For Me?

Do a video testimonial 60 to 90 second clip, add it to the end of each of your pep talks, and see your conversion rates skyrocket. Now those pep talks are actually effective promotional tools.

Now, I don't practice what I preach on my own site, I'm in the process of obtaining those video testimonials from my clients... but, I don't do nearly as much coaching as I used to... I'm working on other projects. So, my own site is not optimized according to the best practices that I am recently learning about! Yes, the cobbler has no shoes!

Visit my site in early 2009 and I will have upgraded with a great intro video and video testimonials.... and likely a brand new design.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you agree or disagree and why...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Intro to Web 2.0 - Entrepreneurs are Obtaining More Clients Marketing Online for their Offiline Business

Introduction to Web 2.0

The wave of the future is here… and it is Web 2.0. If you haven’t heard already, there is a new two-way communication required online. As they say, "out with the old and in with the new." If you are not leveraging the new ways clients are researching and finding out about you, you're leaving money on the table. In “times of old” people relied on the Internet as a one-way tool for communicating with others. Most business entrepreneurs will set up a website, then offer their opinions, advice and more to anyone willing to listen, pay attention or chime in.

That has all changed. Now people are relying on a relatively old concept to change the way they do business on the Web. Instead of using the Internet as a one-way tool for communicating, people are now realizing the Web’s potential for creating an interactive, dynamic environment. In this environment, individuals, consumers and businesses can collaborate and communicate in new and simpler ways.

When we think of the term “next generation”, we automatically think of something new and innovative.

The way se use the Web is new, but the technology supporting what people do with the Web has existed for decades.

While 2.0 isn’t exactly new, the next generation user or modern web users are using the technology supporting it in new ways. Long gone are the days of old where reading information on the Web was much like reading a book. Today people use the web for various purposes, including sharing information with others and to collaborate and communicate with others. To understand this, you must understand 2.0.

What Is It?

First popularized in 2004 and coined by O’Reilly Media, Web 2.0 is the “next generation” Web…

Web 2.0 is a broad term describing many different kinds of websites, websites that provide a platform where end-users have control over the content of sites. Web 2.0 includes social networking sites, wikis, sites like and, folk-sonomies, Blogs, RSS Feeds and other sites that emphasize collaboration and sharing among users.

Web 2.0 is The NEW Internet. It’s a new way of communicating using the World Wide Web. It focuses on building communities where people come together to share their ideas, passions and interests. Some people used collaborative and community-based sites since the dawn of the Web. Only recently have people other than consumers begun realizing the true potential of collaborative networking.

The “old” way of doing things focused on individual users creating applications from which they presented visitors information. For example, a person sat at their computer, created a website and provided information to visitors. They sold product to visitors. They allowed feedback, usually in the form of a one-way email communication, web form or other application.

The “new” way: Web 2.0 encourages an approach to the Web where people form communities and collaborate to provide information on the Web. Instead of one person sitting at the end of a computer terminal, there are multiple people at many terminals all capable of accessing the same information, like a list of your favorites you bookmark on the Web.

Consider for example, This is an ideal example of how the Web is transforming. This modern-day encyclopedia of information is a collection of insights and information gathered from people across the world. There is no one “editor” or author, rather people share and collaborate to create a resource that includes insights from all walks of life. The technology supporting this site allows users to collaborate and edit information using some formal and informal guidelines. The community works to approve or disprove new information, but overall, just about anyone can place information on the site.

To understand Web 2.0, it will help to explore some of the common sites and terms used in conjunction with this new web platform. In the next section, we will spend some time exploring the different sites that make up Web 2.0, and how you can use them to your benefit.

Web 2.0 Websites

Web 2.0 websites are not built using the traditional computer “platform” even though many people refer to the technology supporting Web 2.0 as a platform in its own right. Web 2.0 sites are noted by their ability to enhance and promote open communication among users. They operate in a much-decentralized manner than traditional sites do.

To get a better idea of how Web 2.0 works, let’s use the analogy of a corporation. Typically, in a traditional hierarchical corporation, information is passed from the top down. You have the CEO of the company, who may pass information to the controller, who may pass information to accounting managers, who may pass information to line workers. If the company were operating like Web 2.0, everyone would disseminate information horizontally, through shared systems. Meaning, the person on the bottom of the chain of command would have instant access to the same information the person at the top of the organization might.

One marked difference distinguishing Web 2.0 from the web of old is the philosophy that supports it. Web 2.0 encourages freedom of use, and sharing among all users. It supports the disintegration of hierarchical models of use, and instead promotes a horizontal or collaborative approach to knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing is after all, a collective effort that includes the information and expertise of multiple members within an organization, community or other forum.

Whether sharing photographs, personal journals or data, Web 2.0 allows users to create communities from scratch, using many promising new technologies. Some examples of Web 2.0 sites include: Craiglist, Skype, Technorati, Squidoo, Flickr and more. We will talk more about some of these sites later. Now that you have a better idea of “what” Web 2.0 is, let’s look at some of the different platforms used by users. Remember, not all Web 2.0 sites are alike.

Web 2.0 and Business

Web 2.0 is not popular among consumers only. Businesses are now realizing the potential benefits Web 2.0 has to offer. While many consumers think of popular applications like MySpace when they ponder Web 2.0, many fail to connect this technology with its potential for business.

Corporations can reduce much of the expense associated with installing and configuring essential software and applications on individual computers when they take advantage of the blogs available.

Web 2.0 Key Features

Most sites, regardless of their platform, share key features if they are 2.0 sites. Here are some of the key features and benefits associated with this new wave in technology.

1. Web 2.0 encourages greater collaboration among webmasters and visitors, so that interactive communities are created on the Web.

2. Web 2.0 approaches the Web as a platform for building conversation and communities.

3. The “new” Web focuses more on social networking and sharing, through various means including through blogs, wikis and more.

Rather than have an IT manager set up, configure and maintain a company’s applications and software on corporate servers, a company can now access a vendor’s server to acquire the information they need for their company.

Companies can now also share information and collaborate with one another in new and interesting ways. This will require business managers to start thinking more horizontally, moving away from a hierarchical model of communicating to one where knowledge is shared freely among employees, suppliers, vendors and even competitors.

Some company’s are even encouraging their customers to take advantage of social networks to help them advertise. GM for example allowed consumers to create commercials for some of their popular vehicles a while back. While many of these left much room for improvement, such integration allows for greater innovation and shared interest among key agents – consumers.

A company can also help businesses make working more practical and simpler. Rather than have individuals use stand-alone systems only, company’s can now encourage the joint use of software and computers among multiple users. Data can easily be shared from one person to next, meetings can be held online, and problem solving can take place from a much broader perspective.

As with anything, there are drawbacks to using this technology, even in the world of business. Business entrepreneurs have to ensure they fully understand the implications and utility of using Web 2.0 before they adopt the technology. Many must also realize that this technology has existed for some time, but offers an interactive approach to marketing and everyday business operations. A company should examine how they can integrate Web 2.0 into daily operations while still hedging risks.

What We Learned

We 2.0 is a community-based platform or network, one encouraging shared participation and community effort. Web applications common to this new platform include both Web and non-web applications (like instant messaging). Using this new platform, end-users throughout the globe can share data, information, photographs, personal insights and more.

A great example of community-based site that you can literally have set-up and running in 30-minutes is Their base product is free so you can set-up your an online social community in minutes. More and more businesses are also realizing the potential benefits of using a collaborative application and software such as that provided through Web 2.0 technologies. The entire way we do business is changing. Now that your interest is peaking, let us look at some of these applications, and the technology supporting Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 Sites

How do you know if you have landed on a Web 2.0 platform? Chances are, if you are asked to contribute to the content or body of knowledge contained on the site, you’ve hit the lottery. Most sites are those that encourage visitors to add their insights to a page, whether through ongoing commentary, through editing or by any other means available. Web 2.0 sites differ in their mission and purpose from traditional web pages. Some provide users the opportunity to share personal biographies, pictures and journals.

Examples include sites like This fast and growing site is popular among the young and old. Even celebrities use the site to post pictures, update their fans and promote their latest shows or movies. One of the advantages of Web 2.0 is users can use it to express their opinions or passions, but also passively promote their products or services in the process. Here are some other common sites characteristic of this new trend.

Social Bookmarking Sites

Social bookmarking sites are sites that allow Internet users to classify and share their Internet bookmarks or favorites with others. They are similar to social networking sites, where users share content, personal photographs and other information. Social networking and social bookmarking sites alike both work to promote a community-type look and feel.

While the intent of social networking sites is more to create communities of like-minded people, social bookmarking sites concentrate more on increasing the popularity of common Internet bookmarks or favorites. You can tell the whole world what your passions are, and increase the page rank to your favorite sites, by placing tags on them and listing them in social bookmarking networks.

Social networks are nothing new, they have existed for decades on the Internet. Only recently however, have people taken a keen interest in their potential, especially from a marketing perspective. Think about it; you put bookmarks to all your blogs, sites and lists in a public forum. Others can link to your sites and click through to visit your sites through the social networking site you list with. You increase knowledge and awareness of your sites and also get free advertising and targeted traffic.

If the quality of information you provide is worthwhile, chances are you benefit tremendously from this new technology.

There is little difference between the two technologies, many use them as one in the same. If you do plan to use social networking or bookmarking sites to publicize your content, just be sure you do it in a non-threatening, non-confrontational and legitimate manner. No one likes a spammer, and you can spam social sites.

Remember, people join these sites and post information because they want quality links and information from real people. If you use the sites as a general “bulletin board” or classified ad, you diminish the value and might even get booted off.

In fact, one of the more commonly cited “drawbacks” of these sites is they do not rely on a standard set of tagging or keywords, so people can often set up unclear tags or fill the site with misspelled tags in the name of driving more traffic to their sites. Many sites are more likely to corrode as people use them more as a page rank boosting or search engine tool than to provide valuable information. Don’t book the same site repeatedly or you will get into trouble.


You’ve probably heard the term “blog.” This is short for web log or weblog. This is a site that allows users to create journal or diary-like entries in a chronological way. Users often post blogs or short entries and articles on information they are passionate about or have an interest in. Still others focus on providing content about news, entertainment or political commentary.

Many use these as online journals and diaries to communicate the latest and greatest events with their friends. Most bloggers now include photos and other graphic elements in their web pages, along with basic text. You can even use MP3 or videos to enhance the quality of content provided in blogs.

Most bloggers allow visitors to post feedback or comments about their blog entries, so in some ways web logs serve as a mini community or forum. Popular blogs may receive hundreds of visitors every month. There are search engines whose sole purpose involve tracking blogs and related sites, including for example.

One of the reasons web logs are popular for marketing is they allow users to provide content that is updated frequently. You can post daily, weekly or monthly. The more frequently you post information to blogs, the more likely you are to maintain your page ranking.

Like social bookmarking sites, blogs are not anything new, but are now gaining more attention and popularity among individuals, communities and online entrepreneurs and marketers. People are using them in many ways, even politically, to announce their passions, beliefs, purpose or to pitch their products and services while providing visitors with valuable content and information.

Like social networking sites, blogs are targets for spammers, who frequently post spam and links to junk sites in the comments section of blogs, so most webmasters will have to monitor this to avoid clogging their blog with unnecessary spam.

Everyone these days, from celebrities again to political commentators use blogs to deliver information and news to people throughout the globe. There are private and public blogs, blogs focusing on entertainment, those focusing on politics, the media and people. Even corporations are starting their own blog campaigns to encourage people to investigate their company.

Of course, as with anything there are problems with blogs and potential concerns. For example, many people do not realize the consequences of posting potentially negative or defamatory information on their blogs. Yes, free speech is important. But bloggers beware, there are many instances where bloggers have been cited for liability or defamation. Make sure if you communicate you do so wisely and with good intent.


An interesting name for an interesting concept. These are sites that allow users to categorize and classify information on the Web, including websites or pages, photographs and other information like links. Users can classify information using tags, or special labels containing brief information about each categorized piece of information. An example of a popular “foksonomy” site is Flickr, where users can classify and organize and share photographs. Yet another is that allows users to tag and classify information ranging

from web pages to links to blogs and more. As with anything, once information is tagged and categorized, it becomes more easily and readily available to the public. Think of tagging as a unique way of creating navigation bars, bars that reside throughout the Web or that are easily accessed through multiple portals on the Web, rather than through a single web page.

Tagged sites are more likely to be picked up by search engines, though some people will refer to popular folksonomy sites to find information they are looking for rather than rely on popular search engines including Google.

There are some disadvantages of using categorical sites as these. For one, the tagging “system” isn’t really well defined. Because there are no exact rules or regulations defining how tags should be implemented or inserted, many are inserted inconsistently. This can make navigating these sites a bit tricky.

However, if used wisely, folksonomy sites and tagged pages are an excellent way to provide information to the public in an easily navigable format. As with anything, entrepreneurs and other small business owners can use these sites to help promote their products, services or link to their web pages or affiliate marketing sites on the Web.


Another example of Web 2.0 in full force is the wiki. These are websites that allow individuals to add, edit and even remove content. Many act like an encyclopedia, like where users can add content creating a global online dictionary or encyclopedia of sorts. The problem with such sites is the information provided in the sites may not always be accurate. Remember, anyone can log into the site and edit, remove or add information, so most “wikis” need some form of monitoring.

This usually comes in the form of community collaboration, where a group or wiki community work together to make sure any and all users are engaging in reasonable and acceptable practices when adding information.

As a benefit, these sites may include more information than traditional strict “book” type or “knowledge based” learning centers. Most of these sites work on the premise that communities will band together to provide honest and positive information, rather than work in a malicious or malevolent way.

Wikis are less of a tool for self-promotion than some other common Web 2.0 interfaces like social bookmarking sites and blogs. There primary foundation is a content based site and community of people gathered together to learn and grow. Many are globally based.

To find information in a wiki, one can often rely on an internal search engine that will look for data using key search terms, much like one might look for information on Google or any other mainstream Web application.

Other Applications

Of course, there are many other types of Web applications that quality as Web 2.0 interfaces or platforms for users. Consider for example, YouTube, which allows users from all walks of life to create streamlined video clips to the world at large. Once again, this site is one that commoners and celebutants alike have attached to. Users can post any type of video clip they like using a simple web cam. Many provide parodies of political figures and celebrities, while others do nothing more than film ordinary events. Not surprisingly however, YouTube and sites like it are among the fastest growing on the Web, because face it… people like to see other people in action.

What We Learned

There are many types of sites one can categorize as part of the growing Web 2.0 base. These sites are user-friendly sites that promote socialization, collaboration and community building. These sites are also frequently used as a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services to the public without blatantly advertising them.

Many Web 2.0 sites, including social bookmarking sites, have existed for centuries. They are only now gaining popularity as people begin to realize the potential for boosting business and page ranks. These sties are also idea for individuals that just want an opportunity to communicate with a global community. Of critical importance in the future will be finding ways to help keep these sites “spam” free and user friendly. As with any technology, Web 2.0 has its criticisms, including the likelihood that the sites will become corrupted by malicious individuals whose sole purpose for posting is “spamming.” Now that you have a better handle on what Web 2.0 is and how people use it, let’s review some frequently asked questions.

Web 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know a little more about Web 2.0 and how you can benefit, let’s explore some less commonly understood questions surrounding this incredible technology.

Q. What is the Semantic Web?

A. Semantic technologies often promote Web 2.0 sites. The Semantic Web enables users to create files explaining relationships between data sets. This technology allows for greater data integration and helps users classify and categorize information. Many also use the term “digital library” to identify these types of sites and this technology. It is the platform from which social bookmarking and other taxonomy type or categorical sites are created from.

Q. What is tagging (or tags)?

A. Tagging is a way users can classify or organize and categorize data, and is common on many sites including social bookmarking sites and folksonomies. How it works is users attach tags to data items like web pages, their blog entries or even photographs they want classified and categorized. Tagging is not the same as the Semantic system, which allows users to categorize information using unique identifiers rather than common tags. Relationships in a Semantic environment are more specific than in a tagging environment. For example, when one tags a blog page, they may tag it with terms like,

internet marketing” or “summer picnic” whereas when one classifies information semantically, they will tag the information using a unique identifier. If someone classifies a web blog entry for example, they may identify it using the blog author’s name, the date of creation and the source of content used to create the blog entry.

Q. I still do not fully understand Web 2.0. Can you expand?

A. Web 2.0 is a client-sided application, meaning end-users, people sitting at their computer, can categorize, tag and store data on the Web and share it with others. For example, let’s say you bookmark 3 of your favorite sites. Usually, when you visit another computer, your bookmarks will not show up when you log in. When you use Web 2.0 technologies however, you bookmark your favorite sites to public forums, so you can access them from anywhere. At the same time, anyone else can access your favorites from any computer anywhere in the world. Some call this “intelligent” sharing of data. It is certainly a new way to classify and navigate information provided on the Web.

Q. How can I learn more about this exciting new technology?

Enroll in the eLearning course to learn how to build your own Web 2.0 business system the right way! We show you with video, podcasts and easy-to-read workbooks the right tools and techniques to start building massive traffic to your web site and turn more visitors into customers or prospects.

Q. How do I use a weblog? Isn’t it dangerous?

To use a blog or web log, all you have to do is set up an account. Anyone can set up a blog these days. Most people uses blogs as online journals or commentaries. You can share photographs of family members; you can share personal insights about political subjects or subjects you feel passionate about. The danger comes when someone uses blogs in a slanderous or malicious way. You should note that their may be some repercussions to posting your opinions on the Web. In some countries, people have been arrested for information they placed on a private blog. You should also know that when you post information to the Web, you are placing your personal information for the entire world to see. So if you do not want something public, do not post it on a blog, or keep your blog private.

Many people, including media moguls now use blogs to deliver news information on the Web in a consistent and timely fashion. As more and more people turn to the Web for information and advice, it makes sense to put information on the Web for others to access. People can comment on your Blog entries if you set up your blog in a way that allows them to do so, but this isn’t always a necessity. Some people prefer others do not comment on their blog, because this may result in spamming.

Q. What is RSS?

This is another technology rapidly gaining popularity. RSS technology, or “Really Simple Syndication” is a tool anyone can use to tell the world at large about new blog entries or web entries. What you do is set up your site content using RSS tools or content aggregators. What happens is any time you post new information to your page, that information is fed to people that are linked to your feed.

Q. If Web 2.0 isn’t new, who cares?

Web 2.0 isn’t new, but people are finding new and innovative ways to use it. If strategic, you can use Web 2.0 to market your products and services and promote your business or site to millions of people around the world. You do have to do this in a politically correct and decent way. Many applications allow readers to interact with the Web pages they browse. These applications are all part of Web 2.0 technology, and include SOAP, XML, JAVASCRIPT and AJAX. These interesting technologies allow you to interact with a web page that is live in much the same way you would interact with a page from your own computer, a page you created.

Web 2.0 isn’t new, but people are now taking an active interest in becoming members of a global community. Thus, Web 2.0 is becoming a lot more popular than it has been in the past. Sites including Gmail, Flickr and Digg are all the rage among collaborative types interested in link and information sharing on the Web


Web 2.0 is a popular term used to describe an old system but new way of thinking about and using the Internet. If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you will find 2.0 is a great tool for promoting your business and establishing your credibility on the Web.

If you are someone interested in sharing information and forming collective communities on the Internet, you will also find 2.0 technology something new, exciting and innovative to explore.

No matter your intent or purpose, it’s worth a little time and effort. So take your time and explore 2.0 for all it is worth. Have fun, and share!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Money Speech - an old classic worth reading

"The 'Money' Speech" - From 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand

atlas shrugged cover
I just became familiar with one of Ayn Rand books, "Atlas Shrugged." particularly the famous "money speech" by Francisco. It is a classic that is worth posting here.

You may have to read it a few times to really understand it. And once you really get it, it can save you a lot of money in financial education and personal development in understanding about abundance and prosperity. If you haven't yet downloaded all the free PDFs, Word docs, audio, and videos on developing Prosperity Consciousness on my website, feel free to go there after you read the below and learn how your mindset often matters more than your marketing when looking to start or grow your small business.

This book will gain popularity in the next year due to several factors. Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board took this book to heart and writes about the influence it had in his life when he read it in the early stages of his professional life. Likely by 2010, a movie is coming out in the theaters and Angelina Jolie is one of the main characters in the movie. The book turns 50 years this year.

Here below is the classic 'Money' speech from the book:

Francisco's 'Money' Speech from -Atlas Shrugged-

Original source: Part II, Section 2, pages 382-387 of the paperback (35th anniversary edition)
Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, "Don't let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he's the typical product of money."

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

"So you think that money is the root of all evil?" said Francisco d'Aconia. "Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?

"When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor – your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?

"Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions – and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.

"But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made – before it can be looted or mooched – made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced.

"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss – the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery – that you must offer them values, not wounds – that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchange of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is this what you consider evil?

"But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.

"Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth – the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve that mind that cannot match it. Is this the reason why you call it evil?

"Money is your means of survival. The verdict which you pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict you pronounce upon your life. If the source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Money will always remain an effect and refuse to replace you as the cause. Money is the product of virtue, but it will not give you virtue and it will not redeem your vices. Money will not give you the unearned, neither in matter nor in spirit. Is this the root of your hatred of money?

"Or did you say it's the love of money that's the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love its nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men. It's the person who would sell his soul for a nickel, who is the loudest in proclaiming his hatred of money – and he has good reason to hate it. The lovers of money are willing to work for it. They know they are able to deserve it.

"Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters: the man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.

"Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another – their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.

"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride, or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich – will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt – and of his life, as he deserves.

"Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.

"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'

"When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.

"You stand in the midst of the greatest achievements of the greatest productive civilization and you wonder why it's crumbling around you, while you're damning its life-blood – money. You look upon money as the savages did before you, and you wonder why the jungle is creeping back to the edge of your cities. Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honor. That phrase about the evil of money, which you mouth with such righteous recklessness, comes from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves – slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries. So long as production was ruled by force, and wealth was obtained by conquest, there was little to conquer. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers – as industrialists.

"To the glory of mankind, there was, for the first and only time in history, a country of money – and I have no higher, more reverent tribute to pay to America, for this means: a country of reason, justice, freedom, production, achievement. For the first time, man's mind and money were set free, and there were no fortunes-by-conquest, but only fortunes-by-work, and instead of swordsmen and slaves, there appeared the real maker of wealth, the greatest worker, the highest type of human being – the self-made man – the American industrialist.

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose – because it contains all the others – the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money'. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity – to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted, or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality.

"Yet these were the words for which Americans were denounced by the rotted cultures of the looters' continents. Now the looters' credo has brought you to regard your proudest achievements as a hallmark of shame, your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, the industrialists, as blackguards, and your magnificent factories as the product and property of muscular labor, the labor of whip-driven slaves, like the pyramids of Egypt. The rotter who simpers that he sees no difference between the power of the dollar and the power of the whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide – as, I think, he will.

"Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns – or dollars. Take your choice – there is no other – and your time is running out."

Talent Is Overrated: What really separates world-class performers from everybody else

Hi again. Similar to the topic of high achievers that I wrote about the other day, quoting JFK at the top, I wanted to give you a review of one of the best selling business books available on the market right now. The title of this very inspiring book is Talent Is Overrated: What really separates world-class performers from everybody else.

Expanding on a landmark cover story in Fortune, a top journalist, Geoff Colvin, debunks the myths of exceptional performance. One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field--from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch--are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades. Perseverance guarantees that results are inevitable.

And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness.

Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business—negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest—obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved.

I've couched over 1,650 small businesses owners from around the world in various industries, economic conditions, cultural environment, and mindset. Those that tend to fail are far different than those that succeed. Colvin explains some of the most common factors of those who succeed. What does he mean by perseverance? Well, just imagine if you ran most of the race but felt too tired and too stressed and lost hope at the last few feet before the finish line. And, your competitors don't stop until they cross the finish line. If you give up, you'll stand a 0% chance of succeeding. But, if you stay persistent despite setbacks, despite challenges, despite the extra push you need to give yourself, YOU HAVE A 100% CHANCE OF MAKING IT! Again, persistence guarantees that results are INEVITABLE!

This new mind-set, combined with Colvin's practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do. I've read a lot of books on mindset topics and this one is definitely cream of the crop. I'd also look up John Assaraf, he is lso one of my favorites, and has written several books related to mindset and marketing for the small business owner.

World-class talent isn't something you are born with. It must be developed over many years of unflagging dedication, education, and "deliberate practice" of a key skill, which requires consistent repetition and immediate feedback. Colvin credits "deliberate practice" for the extraordinary achievements of phenoms like Jack Welch.

Chapter Seven, "Applying the Principles in Our Lives," presents more good ideas in 20 pages than many self-help books manage in 200. Among them: Treat business news like case studies by carefully considering what you would do in the place of a struggling leader; periodically go back and practice the fundamental skills of your craft (for example, analyze the ratios in a financial statement with pen and paper instead of software); and constantly deepen your knowledge of your industry.

Colvin spends much of Chapter Nine, "Performing Great at Innovation," tearing down straw men, including the presumably widespread beliefs that creativity depends on flashes of insight and that great inventions are created from whole cloth rather than built on the work of earlier inventors.

Anyone managing employees should consider this question: How do we balance the need to stretch people, which requires that they grapple with difficult and unfamiliar tasks, with the need for them to deliver peak performance at all times? The author's response is nuanced, but he is a fan of the stretch.

Just as parents and teachers develop chess, sports, and music prodigies, Colvin suggests they foster business skills in young children. It's a brilliant piece of work, and it deserves to be studied by anyone involved in human development.

Colvin's new book actually grew out of an assignment at Fortune. A couple years ago he was asked to contribute a piece for a special issue on great performance in business. "The resulting article," according to Colvin, "provoked a more intense response than anything else I've written." It is meticulously written, and the assertions made in the book are based on rigorous scientific research. The principal researcher who informs many of the findings discussed in the book is Professor K. Anders Ericsson, Conradi Eminent Scholar at Florida State University. Ericsson and his colleagues have been conducting study after study on expert performance for over thirty years, and their work may just revolutionize how leaders are developed in the future. At least, I hope so.

Colvin's provocative title neatly summarizes the premise of his book. Here are a few of the key messages from Talent Is Overrated:

  1. Natural gifts and talents, if they exist at all, aren't what we think they are and they are not enough to explain world-class performance in chess, music, ballet, medicine, golf, business, or any other endeavor.
  2. Staggeringly high IQs also don't characterize the great performers. Sometimes they champions have higher than average intelligence, but in many instances they are just average.
  3. Years of experience don't necessarily make someone a high-performer, let alone the greatest performer. And, as startling as it might sound, sometimes more years of experience can mean poorer performance compared to those newly graduated in a specialty.
  4. If natural talent, high IQ, and even years of experience don't explain greatness, then what does? The factor that best explains great performers is what the researchers call "deliberate practice."
  5. Colvin admits that "Deliberate practice is a large concept, and to say that it explains everything would be simplistic and reductive." Therefore, if we are going to become experts in anything, it's essential that we understand what deliberate practice is and what it isn't. What most of us do when we "practice," it turns out, often does not lead to great performance at all, and it may just contribute to being mediocre and could even make us worse.

Colvin does a superb job of providing us with insights into what deliberate practice is, what it isn't, and how it works. He also applies the concepts to our personal lives, our organizations, and to innovation. In blogs over the next couple weeks, I'll share with you some of the key components of deliberate practice and propose ways in which we can apply these concepts to the development of leaders. In the meantime, if you'd like to join me in the dialogue, I urge you to read Talent Is Overrated. I'm certain it will influence how you think about what you can do to become a better leader and what you can do to develop those with whom you work. If you aspire to world-class performance, this will be time well spent.

So, who is the author of Talent is Overrated? He's a very talented person, ironically. Geoff Colvin, Fortune's senior editor at large, is one of America's most respected business journalists. He lectures widely and is the regular lead moderator for the Fortune Global Business Forum. A frequent guest on CNBC's Squawk Box and other TV programs, Colvin appears daily on the CBS Radio Network, reaching seven million listeners each week. He also co-anchored Wall Street Week with Fortune on PBS for three years.