Wednesday, August 28, 2013

$10 bucks says mine has more syllables...

I'm giving $10 to whoever can tell the longest @Starbucks coffee name people can order. I will be posting the winner right here on this very POST.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Web Designers use Social Media to help Small Biz take off

Small businesses should consider social media to be one of the greatest gifts from the Internet Gods. Social media platforms can reduce multiple small business expenses such as printing costs, newspaper and/or magazine advertisement expenditures, not to mention funds spent on envelopes, stamps and ink required to run a snail mail advertising campaign. While a paid employee will have to spend time – which results in labor costs – managing social media campaigns, those costs are still less than traditional marketing strategies. Social media platforms help small businesses in three ways:

  • Savings on advertising expenses
  • Creating previously impossible business connections/clients via telecommunications
  • Finding savings via social media platforms that cut business expenditures
What does this mean for Web Designers? It means the more you know about helping your clients build their business utilizing social media platforms, the more marketable you are in your field.

Great Web Designers Understand How Social Media Can Help Small Business

While there are web designers that land permanent salaried jobs, many are working freelance and building their own business via – hopefully – social media, word of mouth, and their own version of “hitting the pavement”. It’s important for web designers to hone their skills in specific niche areas. Social media should definitely be one of these. Social media for small businesses could be an even more specific niche. There are several steps web designers can take to learn about social media and translate their knowledge into actual dollars earned.
  • Learn Everything. Obviously it’s impossible to learn everything about social media but you certainly need to know more than the basics and then remain in the informational update loop. While you can’t earn a degree in Extraordinary Social Media, you can earn a degree or certification from a college with a strong Web Design or Graphic Design program. Not only will you learn fundamental theory around art and advertising, a strong program will also teach you – and then keep you abreast – of the rising trends in social media. Potential employers are going to want to see a resume, and while your artistic talents are important, they will think a solid educational background is too. Plus, when you leave a professional program, you’ll have an impressive portfolio to demo your work.

  • Do Your Research. While you may have an innate understanding of how social media works: your “likes” save you money at favorite restaurants, you’re thankfully reminded of special events by a last minute Tweet, or you find exactly what you’re looking for on the first page of your Google or Bing search...there are plenty of those out there who don’t understand its importance. Make sure you have anin depth understanding of Social Media statistics so you can use that as a part of your approach when looking for work. Examples include:
    • The 4th most popular online activities include social media and blogs! They even trump personal email time.
    • Almost 1 million blog posts are created within a 24-hour period.
    • It took the internet 4 years to reach 50 million people; it took Facebook 9 months to reach more than 100  million.
  • Find Small Businesses Who Need You. One way to land some part-time, or potentially full-time work, is to start doing your homework and research local small businesses. Many small business owners are still lagging on building and updating their website, let alone taking advantage of social media strategies. Find a dozen or more who you know could benefit from your work. Then, create a plan-of-action and sample work to gently educate them about how much websites and social media matter in the current market. Set up appointments with managers, HR, or whomever you can. You might just be the solution they were looking for. Of course, you need to be prepared for some cold shoulders but as long as you remain humble, avoid pushy or defensive engagements, and have a well prepared presentation, you may end up getting a return call months later. Don’t forget to follow up with all of your small business contacts. People get busy so a gentle reminder may do the trick.
While it’s true that social media helps small business, it’s equally true that professional web designers have the ability to help small businesses understand, and implement, social media strategies. Web and Graphic design is a rapidly growing industry. While this is great news, it also means more and more designers are entering the employment pool. Why not let your Small Business Social Media Expertise help you to create that extra special niche that will get your foot in the door first? How often do you use social media platforms to enhance your own life via connecting, saving money, or building business contacts? Do you emphasize social media tactics with your small business clients? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

8 Things Productive People Do During the Workday

Written by Ilya Pozin, Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn

Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work. It’s time to set down your gallon-sized container of coffee, toss out your three-page to-do list, and put an end to those ridiculously long emails you’ve been sending.
Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.
Recently I spoke with project management and productivity genius Tony Wong to find out the secret to a more productive workday. He provided me with some excellent insight into what he and other like-minded productive individuals do during their work week.
Harness your productivity by taking note of these eight things:
1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.
3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.
4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.
5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.
6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC'd, do everyone a favor by BCCing them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.
7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.
8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.
What’s your secret to productive workdays?
About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and '30 Under 30' entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The 7 Types of Digital Marketer


Article by:
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
News Editorial Intern at Mashable's New York headquarters
Original Link: 
http://mashable.com/2013/05/01/7-types-of-digital-marketer/
Social media has disrupted quite a few fields, becoming an integral part of many of them, such as journalism or marketing. And professionals in these fields have had to adapt, or, perhaps, perish. But everybody has a different way of using social media in the digital marketing world — and his or her unique own style.
Or do they? According to Optify, a Seattle-based marketing software provider for digital marketing agencies, there are just seven types of digital marketers depending on how they use social media. And they've laid out these seven categories in an infographic, which can be seen below.
But don't take it too literally.
"The infographic is just supposed to be a fun way for the digital marketers among us to see how we're illustrated compared to others," said Danie Pote, content marketing manager at Optify. "Most modern marketers likely align with not just one, but several of these."
Check out these seven types of digital marketers in this funny infographic below. If you're a digital marketer, do you see yourself reflected in any of these characters?


Infographic by Optify


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WHAT’S NEXT? Four predictions for Web Design in 2013


There is no denying that we live in a connected world. Each day more and more consumers turn to the Internet for their information; seeking out businesses to frequent, answers to questions, and inspiration for their life. With the online world continually evolving there is also an increasing need for high quality web design. Designers have the dual challenge of meeting the needs of their clients while continuing to set trends and advance the concept of web design. As we look forward to 2013 we wonder what’s next. How can designers take the current state of web design and adapt it to make it even better?

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN

Responsive Web DesignNew desktop and mobile devices are hitting the market at a record pace, each having a slightly different size screen and varying technical dimensions. Designing for each individual device is time consuming, costly, and unnecessary with the evolution of responsive web design. A website that utilizes this design strategy adapts to the device it is being viewed on.  Responsive web design responds to the size of the viewing device and produces a small (mobile phone), medium (tablet), or large (desktop computer) layout design. All of the design sizes share the same content and characteristics just arranged differently to maximize the screen size. Eliminating design elements to make a website more responsive also benefits the content by becoming clearer, more concise, and easier to read.

TARGETED TYPOGRAPHY

Responsive TypographyWith the advent of font design services such as Webtype, Typekit, and Fontdeck there are endless possibilities for the font selection of a website’s design.  But typography is a much bigger consideration than just which font you choose.  2013 will likely see more emphasis placed on the design of the typography as the most integral component of a website’s design. Images and design elements can certainly enhance a beautiful typography, but relying on them to sustain a website’s design is overlooking the importance of both the text and negative space. Instead of focusing so much on whether a design “pops” designers will return to the core of the design to make sure the foundation is strong.

ATTENTION TO BRANDING

Businesses want their brand to be instantly recognizable to customers who can attribute past experiences with the branding. Consider the red bulls-eye for Target or the apple logo for Apple. Once you see either of these you immediately know what the brand is and you can associate it with previous knowledge, experiences, and opinions. Branding of a business should move well past the logo into its web presence by conveying the brand clearly on its website. In 2013 designers will refocus on the core of the brand in web design instead of creating sites that follow current trends.
In a return to an emphasis on branding, designers will carefully choose page elements to maximize the brand. One of the easiest ways to brand a business is via color. Consider what tones and hues would best match a logo or already established design work. You should also find ways for the logo to be prominent without becoming overwhelming by utilizing an attractive size and position on the site. Finding clever ways to infuse the character of the business into the website is also beneficial to branding. Take a look at your design from the customer’s perspective; have you effectively translated who the business is as well as what the business does?

INCREASED USE OF PARALLAX SCROLLING EFFECTS

This design effect has been around for years in video games but was recently introduced to the web design world when it was integrated into the website for the Silverback app. In short, parallax scrolling effects control the depth of design objects on a website. Layering multiple objects and backgrounds and then varying the individual speed at which they move creates dimension and depth in a website. Designers are beginning to use this effect more frequently and there are excellent examples of parallax scrolling that you can view as inspiration to provide a different browsing experience to customers.
These predictions are just a “best guess” at what experts think will be upcoming in web design.  Do you agree with the speculation? Do you have your own ideas of what will be coming in 2013 for web design?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Smart Job Search tips for the "Directors of Whatever Needs to Be Done".

I got this in an email and i thought it would be a nice piece to share. Enjoy!

From Marc's Monday's Newsletter:


"Oh, I'm looking for anything," you might tell well-meaning friends who ask.
It's a problem.

Because in today's economy, no employer is looking for a "VP, Anything", or a "Director of Whatever Needs to Be Done." They're looking for an experienced professional who can solve specific problems.

When you're thinking about moving jobs, you need to have a brief, pithy assertion of who you are and what you're qualified to do. It's important that you be able to explain to an old colleague, or a new connection, in 30 seconds or less, what it is that you're looking for.

That's called an "elevator pitch" - a concise statement of your abilities and goals that can be shared in the time it takes an elevator to go to the top floor. (it gets better).

Vague and general aren't helpful:
"I'm a saleswoman", or...
"I'm in logistics", or...
"I'm a finance guy", don't work because they don't explain succinctly what you need and how your audience can help.

No, in the 21st century you need to be more precise and more concrete. You need to describe what you've done and what you're looking to do... specifically.

So it's not "I'm a saleswoman" but rather...
"I'm a sales management professional looking to lead a 100+ person sales organization, and am particularly interested in opportunities leading sales teams going through the transactional-to-relationship-selling transition."

It's not "I'm in logistics" but rather...
"I'm a logistics team leader who specializes in driving efficiency improvements in established groups, bringing down the cost of production year after year."

And it's not "I'm a finance guy" but rather...
"I'm a finance guy who enjoys rationalizing finance teams in multi-unit businesses and creating metrics and operating procedures that partner with the business to drive understanding of the underlying levers of growth."

You need to be specific and concise in your description of your ambitions, so that your network contacts, your future boss, or an HR recruiter can understand how and where you'll add value and improve the business.

So please, avoid the easy temptation to say that you're looking for anything, and be specific in your job search. It's the best way to let people know how to help you, and to let companies know how you'll help them.

I'm rooting for you,

Marc Cenedella, Founder
Follow me on Twitter: @cenedella

Monday, April 29, 2013

A #Career for the "Problem-Solving" super hero.

Network administration is a career field which offers a tremendous amount of versatility: where you work, who you work with and/or for, and the types of things your job will require you to do. You get to be somewhat physical, creative, and can use your superb problem solving skills to be a hero on a daily basis. Network administrators have skills and insider know-how that most people don’t: how to design, run, and repair computer networks. From helping companies decide what they need and/or how to optimize what they have, to training users and repairing system glitches, your skills will always be in high demand. As if that weren’t enough to entice you, career opportunities in the field of networking administration are projected to increase by 28% by the year 2020. But before you tie on your superhero cape and fly into the network matrix, here are some top 5 reasons to consider a career in networking administration.

Top 5 Reasons To Consider A Career In Networking Administration

  1. Utilize Mind And Matter. A career in networking administration incorporates the best of both the intellectual and physical worlds. Network administrators are responsible for setting up company networks – including the actual mechanics of installing computers, servers, modems, and all of the physical aspects of small to large scale computer networking. Additionally, they may be called upon to navigate the more intellectual aspects of computer systems such as user training, maintaining system security, and analyzing and/or problem solving any issues that arise for the network users.
  2. Versatile Work Environments. Because computers are everywhere, network administrators are in high demand. Many students have a tough time choosing what they want to do. Maybe you want to work with computers but you have also thought about a career in education. Or, maybe you like the idea of the health and retirement benefits that are associated with a government job, but can’t think of a position that interests you. Network administrators are needed for every branch of the professional arena, from schools to law firms and from municipalities to airports. You can take your networking administration degree and let it open doors for you in whatever niche appeals to you.
  3. A Salary To Smile About. Another one of the top 5 reasons to consider a career in networking administration would have to be the salary.  While money should never be a primary motivating factor, its importance can’t be underestimated. If you are like most college graduates – especially those who returned to school later in life – you have loan debts, car payments, and mortgage payments to make. The median income for networking administrators in 2010 was $69,160, more than twice the median income total for all other occupations.
  4. You Get To Play With Toys. If you are into technology, then you are into technological toys…er, we mean technological gadgets. Part of your job is to stay abreast of the latest and greatest that technology has to offer in order to keep your clients’ systems working efficiently and profitably. That means you have to learn about and test (play) with any new gadget (toy) which could potentially benefit your client(s). For example, mobile applications instantly changed how businesses operate. The network administrators with vision helped their clients make the transition as quickly as possible, giving them the business edge. If you don’t keep up, your job performance will suffer.
  5. Perpetual Education. If you love to learn, this is a great field for you. You never get to stop learning when you work in the realm of IT. As mentioned in #4, technology is in perpetual motion and you have to stay on the train if you want to make it to the next station. Once you have completed a degree in networking administration, you will want to continue your education via seminars, online classes, and trade shows. Updating your IT certificationswill be key to keeping your resume updated, maintaining your competitive edge, and ensuring that up and coming graduates aren’t able to vie for your professional position.
These top 5 reasons to consider a career in networking administration can all be summed up in one idea; a career in networking administration delivers job satisfaction on every professional level – the personal, interpersonal, academic, intellectual, and physical. It provides the perfect opportunity for you to combine your people skills, as well as your tech-savvy side, to help others do their jobs better.

Monday, April 8, 2013

8 Tips to Help Achieve Your Career Goals


By Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston.
Professionals who are in careers today will change jobs much more frequently than in previous generations. Therefore, you need to be prepared and proactive in managing your career. But does this mean you have to sacrifice in other areas of your life that are important to you? Our lives are busy enough balancing work and family without having to find time for making major career changes as well. The tips below provide you some solid strategies to achieve your career goals.

1. Resume and LinkedIn Profile Maintenance

Write down your accomplishments from the past year. This will help you identify your market worth. Keeping track of these accomplishments will help you in review and bonus time. You probably already know this, but always keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date. This will keep you visible in the job market with recruiters or hiring managers.

2. Set up Lunchtime Conversations With Influencers

Connect with the shakers and movers within your organization to develop mutual relationships; if a special project or a higher position opens up, they will be more likely to think of you. Your internal company network is important to your career success. Create a list of people within the organization whom you know personally and professionally and ask to have lunch or a phone or Skype conversation for career advice, information sharing, or just to get to know them better. Remember, it is not what you know, but who you know, that will help you get ahead.

3. Remember to Network

Network face-to-face with one to three people each month outside the company to stay connected to your industry and to develop your networking skills. Identify 10 people whom you lost touch with and with whom you would like to reconnect. Reach out to them, perhaps indicating that one of your 2013 goals is to keep your network active. When you meet with the people in your network, bring something to the table and be sure you are offering value. Also, always be willing to ask them to connect you to others they know.

4. Attend Industry Events

Join your industry professional associations and attend monthly events. Meetup.com, Eventbrite and other online communities are great places to find industry groups that are relevant to you. Find out the dates and times, put them in your calendar and try not to schedule meetings too close to the event, so you will have enough travel time. Bring information to share with your colleagues.

5. Keep Your Image Professional

Update your look with accessories, clothes, hair and eyeglasses to reflect a polished professional image. Keeping an updated look is essential for initial impressions. One new piece of apparel can update your look, if you're not one to shop every single season. On the other end of the spectrum, be cognizant that dressing too trendy can be unappealing in a professional setting. Use the rule of thumb of looking in the mirror to see if you need to eliminate one accessory.

6. Schedule Quarterly Meetings

Set up quarterly meetings with your boss to stay on track with your professional development. Since you need to be the leader in managing your career, you need to take the initiative to set up routine times to conduct professional development meetings. In these meetings, ask your boss what his or her expectations are for your department and position over the next quarter, and if there are ways you could improve from the previous quarter — sometimes, it's necessary to take initiative to get the constructive criticism you need. If your boss is not in your office, recommend using Skype, which is a great way to build a more solid relationship.

7. Review Career Goals

You need to manage your own expectations for yourself, too. Mark your calendar six months out for a review of career goals and make adjustments if necessary. Staying on top of your career goals and periodically reviewing those helps you measure your progress, successes and evaluate the feasibility of accomplishing your remaining goals.

8. Read Industry Books

Read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People or Keith Ferazzi's Never Eat Alone. Both books reinforce building relationships inside and outside your organization, which is the key to career success. They stand the test of time and capture human interaction and how to master it — the only thing that has changed is the vocabulary. Buy either of these relationship building books on tape, which can ease a public transit commute and help you to develop better skills.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mountain View

Glatlinburg, TN

Graphic Design Resources For The Mad Men – And Women – Of The Future

One of the most fascinating aspects of the award-winning TV series, Mad Men is the relationship between artists and copywriters as they create catchy sales campaigns to win advertising accounts. While hand-drawn art copy is still used and valued, the world of advertising is now a combination of professional Graphic Designers and their copywriting counterparts. Graphic Design is a rising professional field in which several strengths must co-exist for an individual to stand out. The most successful graphic designers are usually:
  • motivated
  • well educated
  • technically savvy
  • talented
  • adept at communicating with their clients
Disciplined Flexibility – A Graphic Design Oxymoron?
The life of a graphic designer can feel dichotomous at times – a constant pull between artistic license and remaining within the boundaries of a client’s wishes and their audience’s sensitivities. You must be able to think outside the box, but have the discipline to stay on top of your clients’ requests, regulations, and deadlines. You have to be sensitive enough to intuit your clients’ needs, yet thick-skinned enough to hear their criticism without taking offense. So what happens in the mind of great graphic designers when they have to design a new logo, create art to accompany a sales slogan, or re-design the 10th banner-sample for a client’s existing website? 

Best Resources for Professional Graphic Designers
Many people think that talent is enough; alas, it is not! As mentioned above, graphic designers have to excel in a variety of areas in order to be recognized and respected at the professional level.
  1. Education and TheoryThe right graphic design education is important for two reasons; history/ design theory and a respectable resume. Being a graphic designer without a degree in the field is like becoming a professional chef without a culinary school certificate. Where there was a time when talent might have trumped a “book eduction,” these days you’ll find it difficult to land the best and highest paying jobs without a stamp-of-approval from an accredited school. Prospective employers and clients like to see a finite certificate or degree that signifies you’ve learned the core elements of your field and had the commitment and drive to finish a professional program. Plus, an education in graphic design will serve as a well-rounded foundation for your future career.
  2. GAG Handbook. GAG stands for The Graphic Artists Guild. This organization is to graphic designers what the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is to the freelance TV and movie community. They regularly publicize a book called the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines. Once you’re establishing yourself in the professional scene, GAG’s handbook will help you understand complex legal rights, copyright laws, and can help you learn how to negotiate the best wages and terms for future contracts. It even includes copies of sample contracts.
  3. Keyword Trackers. Since the majority of your work will probably be done for websites, blogs, and other internet-based marketing, an in-depth knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) can be vital in producing the best ideas and copy for your clients. This is especially true if you are cultivating small business clients who don’t have a clue how internet search engines work and/or why keywords matter. If you are just starting out, FREE is probably one of your very favorite words in which case Free Keywords will be one of your best resources for researching – and tracking – keyword trends.
  4. Vandelay Web Design Blog. As long as you are beefing up your SEO skills, it’s a good idea to get social media friendly as well. In addition to a wealth of social media-friendly articles, Vandelay Design’s Blog offers additional resource lists, web design tips, as well as a wide array of stock resources for designers.
  5. Computer Arts. To be successful in the world of design, you must remain on the cutting edge of design trends, technological advancements, and new programming tools. One of the best-selling international magazine resources for computer design is Computer Arts. This online resource includes tutorials on multiple topics, tips and tricks for Photoshop and Illustrator, and has enough images, stories, and everything-else-about-graphic-design that you won’t want to miss it. Computer Arts is inspirational from start to finish.
With a good education, a well rounded resource tool kit, and the right amount of motivation and talent, you will be able to cut through the ranks of average designers and make your mark. Hopefully, these resources will take you on your own journey to Mad Men – or Mad Women – success, where you will be a standard setter for future graphic designers. 

Where do you go for your artistic or technical inspiration? What resources do you pull from to create work amazing enough to keep your customers coming back for more? We’re interested in knowing what inspires your graphic design career.