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Lifestyle:

How to Find Furniture Items for Techies

When I moved into my first apartment, I didn’t care what kind of furniture I had. My parents got me a futon, I parked my bicycle where the dining room table should have been, and I stuck my mattress on the floor: Bachelor Pad 101.

But as I’ve grown up and become a bit more sophisticated, I’ve started to care about my furniture. It happens to the best of us, I suppose. But what do we do when we want to merge our furniture with our love of technology? Well, science has answered that question, and answered it with vigor.

Go online

If you’re looking for high-tech anything, the Internet is a great place to start. One quick search and you’ve got millions of hits.

People might wonder: how high-tech can furniture get, really? I was astounded by what a search came up with, and you probably will be too. But how do we narrow down what we are going to buy for our techie friends?

Price

This is always a big consideration in gift giving or home decorating. How much are we willing to spend? And will it fit in with the space?

Think about this: someone makes a couch that looks like it belongs on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. Would this couch really fit in with a tiny living room decked out with IKEA end-tables and a bookshelf made of cinder blocks? Probably not.

But what would go well in a room like that is a couch with built-in wooden end-tables that include charging docks for a variety of electronic devices.

Function

Returning to the bridge of the Enterprise, is Captain Kirk’s couch useful (or comfortable)? Obviously, there’s a subjective element here, but it’s important to look at furniture in terms of what you can use it for.

If it’s too high-tech, it loses its purpose. Case in point: a bed shaped like an egg is not going to be good for the claustrophobic among us. We’ll end up sleeping on the overly-curved ultra-modern couch, and that just makes for a bad night.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend investing in anything high-tech if you’ve got small kids. From pulling over the TVs to throwing Barbies through a projector lens, kids can wreck anything. Keep it simple while they’re little, or buy the high-tech furniture for the home office that they’re not allowed to enter.

Another thought to remember when looking at high-tech furniture is reliability. If you’re willing to shell out the big bucks, do your research and make sure it works. Coffee table with USB port that transforms into a giant tablet? Yeah, awesome, until you put your mug of coffee down and the heat sensor goes haywire, and suddenly you’re stuck in an endless loop of Angry Birds.

Perhaps I’m a pessimist, but you get my drift. Just because something is new and cool doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

Style

Someone who loves TV and gaming will probably find the canopy bed with a built-in HD television screen absolutely amazing. The person trying to enhance his sleep will like curling up in the egg-bed.

If you’re buying for yourself, consider what you need out of your furniture, and how this high-tech option is going to help you get it. If it doesn’t meet your needs or lifestyle, move on.

Also, consider the rest of your home. Most of us aren’t going to be able to techie-trick-out our entire pads at once, so we have to buy bits and pieces. Don’t make your home look odd and unbalanced by having, say, a completely integrated touch-screen desk that you’re eating your Ramen noodles off of.

I’m not judging; I’m just suggesting you prioritize a little.

Social:

Are You a Tech Startup? 3 Ways to Make Your Customers Happy

With the cost of building a website falling to the point where it’s almost free of charge, and the ability to have a tech startup running within hours, we’ve entered an era of mass entrepreneurship and competition. If you’re a new tech business, it’s never been so important to understand how to be better than your competition!

Once you understand your company and your competition, you can set out to understand your consumers and make them happy. Here are some tips to make that happen!

1. Understand your position

Knowing your position in the market, and your position in the eyes of the consumer, will require you to create what’s commonly referred to as a positioning statement. It’s easiest to imagine this exercise as one where you simply fill in the blanks in the following statement: [Product or service name] is the best type of [product or service type] for [consumer type] as shown by the [attributes of product or service].

Completing the above statement will require you to understand why you’re the best choice, and for which consumers. Then you can move toward making those customers happy!

2. Ask, listen, ask again, listen again

Great relationships are formed around great conversations and mutual understanding, whether in business or life. The key to having the other person feel good is to listen to the input and opinions and needs from him or her; an even more crucial part is to know what to ask.

If we go back to your positioning statement, perhaps you said something like: “Smith Consulting is the best type of advertising service for real estate agents, as shown by our exclusive access to a network of customers who are ready to buy or sell.”

Based on that statement, the questions to ask your customer (the real estate agent who would hire Smith Consulting) might be: “What type of real estate buyer is your ideal prospect? What type of seller? Is there a price range or geographic area, or type of housing that you’d like to specialize in?”

Those types of questions would make your customers happy, because you cared enough to ask, and later, you delivered on their needs!

3. Formalize the feedback process

It’s not always possible to get consistent and statistically significant feedback from customers using a manual, one-on-one methodology. Online surveys are a great tool to automate this process, and there are a few online companies that have the ability to handle this customer-pleasing activity for you!

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last update: October 23, 2014

Social:

How to Sell Healthy Food Using Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that you can use it to sell just about anything. From sporting event tickets to unwanted furniture, to healthy snacks designed to help your friends and family eat right and lose weight.

Social media is a great place to start marketing your healthy snack business. You can use it to bring awareness to your friends with as well as your followers. You can promote not only your business but your product as well.

Using Facebook to promote healthy snacks

When you use your Facebook page as a marketing tool for your healthy food business, you do a great deal of promotion. Your friends, family, and colleagues all have the opportunity to see what you’re marketing and what you have to say about your product.

Using Facebook allows you to post stories about how much better people feel when they eat right, and how bad they feel eating fast food in a hurry. It’s a great platform for people to see what you’re offering and how it will benefit their lives.

Twitter and healthy food

With 140 characters, you can easily create a catchy phrase to place with a link to an article about the benefits of healthy eating. Once your followers notice your phrase, they’re likely to click on the link you’ve provided and read the article.

It’s a great platform for sharing professional material about eating well, the dangers of eating an unhealthy diet, the side effects and health problems that stem from an unhealthy diet, and many other things. Your followers will become more enlightened, see your product, and be more willing to look into what you have to offer.

Another advantage of using social media sites such as Twitter is that you can post about more than just your product. Your followers are less likely to care what you have to say when you’re saying nothing more than “Buy this” and “Buy that” to them.

They want personal stories, studies and research, and any other evidence you can provide that shows what you are selling is going to be worth the time, money, and effort they put into it. Keep that in mind when you post about your health food business.

Other social media platforms

Facebook and Twitter might be among the most popular, but other platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are also great places to promote your health food and snacks business. Reaching the public with your pictures and stories is an effective method to market.

Use Pinterest as an example. You can post photos of your health food products attached to your blog. This way, when someone clicks on your pin, they will go straight to your blog and be exposed to the stories, reviews, and proof you have to offer that your business will benefit their lives.

Where to buy healthy snacks for resale

If getting into the health food and health snack game is something you’re considering, try Linda’s Diet Delites. These products are designed to help you find healthy food on the go without grabbing fast food and other unhealthy alternatives as an easy solution.

The business world is fast-paced and always changing. Right now, social media is one of the hottest platforms for promoting your products and your business. With so many different angles available for you to take, you can grow your business and promote your product with ease.

Your followers and friends will love to support you and take better care of their own health when you make it worth their while. Use social media to back up your claims and offer proof that healthy snacking is a life-changing strategy.

Lifestyle:

4 Dining Furniture Items for the Digital You

If you’re a techie, all your furniture should reflect that, including your dining sets — even if you have a house rule of no smartphones or tablets at the dinner table.

After all, it just seems out of place if you have a high-tech house, maybe with some automated features, and a dining table that looks like it belongs in a French kitchen. But how can you blend the two worlds?

It’s actually much simpler than you think. Check out these four incredible dining pieces for homeowners who are more tech-minded.

1. Hampton Contemporary Dining Set

Don’t let the name fool you: the Hamptons might be known for traditional styles, but this particular dining set is all contemporary.

Featuring black tempered glass and easily seating six, it’s just what you need to bring sleek lines into your dining room. Chrome legs and simplicity make it pop in all the right ways.

2. Lyn Contemporary Dining Chair

Your chairs are the accessories of a dining table, so feel free to liven them up with innovative designs and colors that will brighten any dining area. The Lyn series is akin to a lightning bolt, yet still comfortable.

With chrome at the base and a variety of bright colors to choose from, this design can complement any table or literally stand alone as an accent piece.

3. Heriz Designer Round Dining Table

If space is an issue or you just prefer a more intimate approach, try the Heriz model. White and high-gloss, it perfectly blends retro with futuristic.

It’s also a great space saver, so you have plenty of room for your other gadgets. It seats four, with round, tempered glass and — just like the perfect little black dress — it impresses the eye without standing out too much. There’s also a touch of 60s funk involved, so it’s ideal for a little throwback design.

4. Yelena Modern Glass Dining Table

Here’s something that doesn’t make much sense: If you throw a lot of dinner parties or have a larger family, why are all the dishes kept in the kitchen where you have to trot them back and forth?

Enter the Yelena, which offers storage space right below the surface. The 3D glass cube design is also a knockout, and you can opt to keep some eye catching collectibles in this space, too.

These are just four options to choose from at Furniture to Your Door. No matter what your style, there’s something to suit every technophile.

Lifestyle:

7 of the Most Affordable Tech Cars in South Africa

For those who need an efficient vehicle in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. Some of the various inexpensive options can be found on native soil; many other great quality cars hail from places like India and South America.

Below are seven of the best and most affordable cars for the techie in South Africa.

1. Renault Sandero

This very affordable car is energy-efficient and reliable. It was first manufactured in South America but it’s now available in many other countries, including upscale neighborhoods of South Africa.

The interior is spacious and perfect for families and individuals. The Renault features very low fuel consumption, using either petrol or diesel fuel, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any adventure. Many luxury features are available, such as low noise and vibration amenities. There are also options to reduce some of the luxury items to make the care more affordable.

2. Hyundai Jazz

The Hyundai Jazz is quite reasonably priced at this time — for one very important reason. This vehicle line is being discontinued in countries such as India and South America.

In South Africa there’s speculation that this car will drastically drop in price during closeouts. The Hyundai Jazz is much like other modern hatchbacks in that it has push-button start capabilities and Bluetooth accessories in the interior. This model is almost a steal!

3. Hyundai i10

Another popular hatchback style that replaced former Hyundai models is the Hyundai i10. This car is unique for its ergonomic design in the front and passenger seats. The interior is intended to suit taller drivers and companions.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 has experienced a facelift by total transformation of the front grill and bumper. This adds a new flavor to a very popular and inexpensive car.

4. Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is truly a flashy hatchback. But besides that, this car has many extra features that will amaze any tech lover. For one, the Micra has a push-button start, it is Bluetooth hands-free, and it also has a CVT, so you can enjoy incredible acceleration speeds. If you’re looking for a truly innovative vehicle, this one’s for you.

5. VW Polo Vivo

The native South African Polo Vivo is one of the best selections with regard to affordability, as well. This small hatchback has the capabilities of a full-sized car and the interior room will fool you.

The Polo Vivo has a long list of safety features that includes air bags on every side, front, and back, air control, and plenty of boot space. What more could be needed in an efficient, quality car such as this one?

6. Kia Picanto

This small car has the ability to win you over simply because of its strengths and affordability. The Kia is fully loaded with six air bags, remote-control locking, and electronic stability control.

The Picanto is also very aesthetically pleasing, with body-colored bumpers and mirror handles. If you’re looking for an affordable beauty, then this is the one you want.

7. Ford Fiesta

This beautiful car is very sleek and cool. The Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a powerful transmission and uses both diesel and petrol gas. Extra amenities include best-in-class air conditioning, steering column audio, and Bluetooth capabilities.

This sporty vehicle is quite competitive with similar vehicles and has the ability to charm the buyer. If you buy it used, the Ford Fiesta is very affordable.

These seven cars are simply among the best in quality. Not only are they some of the best, they are quite affordable as well. For natives of South Africa, these tech cars are the way to go.

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Gadgets:

How to Make Use of Old or Unwanted or Tech Gadgets

Got a lot of old gadgets sitting around your house gathering dust? If you have children, there’s no doubt that you have a few old gaming consoles they’re no longer using, along with some fancy toys that have been sitting in boxes for years.

You might have an old computer or two, not to mention that CRT TV that you packed away once you got your brand-new flatscreen. There always seem to be old gadgets sitting around, and it can be difficult to know what to do with them.

The eBay solution

Probably the best place to take your old and used gadgets is eBay — the massive online garage sale where pretty much everything gets bought and sold. If your gadgets are in serviceable condition, you should be able to sell them fairly easily.

You may have to mark the prices way down on your old stuff, but you never know how much people will be willing to pay for those vintage Nintendo games, that old console that only plays 2D games, or that CRT TV that you started to turn into a fish tank (finishing the tank would increase the value of the sale).

Selling on eBay is fairly easy, and you can open an eBay seller account within a few minutes. However, if you live in the U.S., there’s a section of eBay called MyGadgets that allows you specifically to sell old and unwanted gadgets. The whole service is designed to make your life easier, and you may find that selling off those gadgets will be so much simpler with this nifty tool to help you.

Going Craigslist

Craigslist certainly gives eBay a run for its money, though it’s more personalized and region-centered than eBay. Craigslist allows you to post classified ads anywhere in the country, but most people stick within their city. You can post an ad about all your gadgets, and offer them to anyone who might be interested. A few email responses and a cash exchange later, you’ve sold off your old gadgets and earned a pretty penny.

The beauty of Craigslist is that you can be pretty much anywhere in the country and still find people interested in what you have. Maybe a parent will want that old computer you’re selling, because he or she can’t afford to buy a brand new one for the child.

Perhaps a gamer is interested in that old console, because he loves playing the old games. No matter what type of gadgets you have, you should definitely consider selling them on Craigslist, the #1 classified ads website in the country.

Donating

Dell has partnered up with Goodwill to provide people with a place to donate their goods: the Reconnect program. It makes it possible for people to get rid of those old computers, gaming consoles, tablets, and other devices in a way that will actually benefit others.

These donated computers may go to local schools or libraries, or they may be given to charitable establishments in need of electronics.

Bartering

Bartering for goods has been around for thousands of years — even before minted coins were invented. People used the barter system to exchange goods they had for goods they wanted, and it worked just great for them. It’s a simple system, but it does the job.

MatchTrade has designed a web-based bartering service that allows people to exchange items with other folks online, offering them a chance to give away something unwanted and receive something they value in return. It’s a beautiful system, and you may find it’s worth checking out if you want to give away those old gadgets.

Science:

3 Reasons to Invest in Third-Party Logistics

When a business is starting up and beginning to thrive, the owners may have to come to terms with the fact that the company might need a logistics outsourcing post.

A third-party logistics company can provide solutions for assembly, packaging, warehousing, and distribution that may not be possible for the startup to handle anymore. The original firm may have launched small and grown faster than anticipated; in order to keep the same quality that customers expect, outsourcing certain functions of the company may be what is necessary to grow.

Consider the following three reasons to outsource to third party.

1. Greater resources

A third-party logistics provider may have the resources that the original company may not have at its disposal. The outside firm can improve the supply chain to make sure the original company’s needs are met in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

The supply chain can be restructured with technology to provide better service to customers so they know where goods are located and when they’ll arrive.

2. Flexible response

The benefit of scaling to inventory can save you money by flexing with busy and down times. The third party can scale labor, space, and transportation depending on the needs of the inventory and depend. Seasonal ups and downs can be easier for your business since the third-party logistics team is dealing with the flow of the bulk of the workload.

Outsourcing will save you money you won’t have to invest in warehouse space, technology, and staff for the logistics process; all that comes with outsourcing. The third party can save you from mistakes, as well, since they have expertise and provide your business with lower risk and higher return.

3. Outside expertise

Outsourcing can give your company expertise that it may not have, and you don’t have to hire more employees to fill that gap.

Third-party workers are aware of industry best practices and will keep updated on developments in technology that help your business, along with software used for reporting, inventory management, and monitoring the outsourcing process. A back-up system is available so that the outsourced employees know where and when inventory is shipped so that it gets to its destination on time.

By outsourcing, companies can focus on the core goals of the business without having to worry about incompetence or accidentally overlooking a task. Good third-party logistics companies will allow business owners to be confident on all angles of their business.

Social:

5 Critical Mistakes SEO Leaders Must Avoid

Any type of leadership has a series of positive objectives to pursue, and negative consequences to avoid. Unfortunately, a positive objective in one field might be a negative consequence in another, so it can be hard to find leadership advice for the specific industry of search engine optimization (SEO).

The positive outcomes sought by SEO leaders are fairly obvious: rank as highly as possible on the search engines that consumers use, and do it in a way that is deemed successful to your company (or your client, if you’re an agency SEO leader).

The negative outcomes are many, from simple inefficiencies to the worst of all: getting de-listed and banned by a search engine. Most of the negative outcomes, however, can be narrowed down to five general areas where critical mistakes can be committed. Below are the five primary SEO mistakes.

1. Poor problem framing and goal selection

Perhaps the worst mistake to make is to do a great job, but hit the wrong target. It’s important to understand more than the SEO goal.

How does this company make money? How does it drive the various stages of marketing success (awareness, consideration, trial, loyalty)? Who is the target customer? What are they searching for online?

Understanding these questions and their answers will help you avoid the mistake of aiming for the wrong goal.

2. Buying links

Don’t buy inbound links. If anything, you should pay people to create the solid content that readers are looking for. And a lot of it. Search engines will penalize almost everything beyond that.

3. Doing anything in a fast, or linear, or non-human fashion

How would sites normally climb rankings organically, with no professional help? It won’t be linear, and it likely won’t be fast. Search engines know that.

4. Not being social

We’re not talking about happy hours at the end of the work day; we’re talking about social media. It’s becoming widely known that search engine algorithms are utilizing social data to help prove a website is legitimate.

Make sure to utilize content marketing efforts and link generation across the major social media outlets that your product’s target consumers would likely frequent.

5. Losing all your momentum and above-the-board work due to a poor transfer of knowledge

During a transition of responsibilities from one SEO manager to the next, it’s critical to have a clear process of knowledge transfer, to ensure that all the objectives and the best practices are transferred in a way that makes operations safe and relatively seamless.

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