Christiane Amanpour: How to seek the truth in the era of fake news

Known worldwide for her courage and clarity, Christiane Amanpour has spent the past three decades interviewing business, cultural and political leaders who have shaped history. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Amanpour discusses fake news, objectivity in journalism, the leadership vacuum in global politics and more, sharing her wisdom along the way. “Be careful where you get information from,” she says. “Unless we are all engaged as global citizens who appreciate the truth, who understand science, empirical evidence and facts, then we are going to be wandering around — to a potential catastrophe.”

 

Advertisements

The freedom of choice

Who we are and what we do are results of our choices. Sometimes choosing can be overwhelming, by going for something we deny ourselves the other option and that can be perceived as detrimental. We have all the freedom in the world, but what we do with it defines us and leads to success or failure. Watch the video for more insight

Thursday tips

In this day and age, everyone is struggling to grow. Which is why today I’m bringing a new series on the blog, Thursday Tips, dedicated to growth hacking. Stay tuned every Thursday for the weekly tip.

Every decision that a growth hacker makes is informed by growth. Every strategy, every tactic, and every initiative, is attempted in the hopes of growing. Growth is the sun that a growth hacker revolves around. Of course, traditional marketers care about growth too, but not to the same extent. Remember, the power of a growth hacker is in their obsessive focus on a singular goal. By ignoring almost everything, they can achieve the one task that matters most early on.

Neil Patel

creative-in-startupland-growth-hacks-goals

Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Tim Urban knows that procrastination doesn’t make sense, but he’s never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. In this hilarious and insightful talk, Urban takes us on a journey through YouTube binges, Wikipedia rabbit holes and bouts of staring out the window — and encourages us to think harder about what we’re really procrastinating on, before we run out of time.

 

Achieve real success

Success comes from the opportunities we create for ourselves. It isn’t external, and it is defined by each of us. When we stop trying to meet society’s expectations about success, that’s when we stand a chance of achieving it. How would you define success?

How I turned procrastination into productivity & you can, too

One way or another, we all procrastinate. There are 2 kinds of procrastination: the “life came in the way” kind, and the “I’m just making excuses” way. I’ve been through both, and what I realized was that it only depended on me. If I wanted to stop feeling overwhelmed and go further, I needed to take action. So I did. This post, for instance, was started on Saturday. I was planning the editorial calendar, and came across a few videos on procrastination. It’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time, but procrastinated, pun intended. I wrote the outline and the first 2 paragraphs at that moment, and then had to stop, because life came in the way. This morning, I decided I had to finish it and post it. So here it is, the steps I took to turn procrastination into productivity.

Hitting the Unfollow button

About 2 years ago, I was fed up with the many useless posts on my Facebook wall. I’ve always been very picky with social media, I’ve only connected with people I know in real life to keep in touch. Seeing tacky pictures of strangers my “friends” had liked was taking up a lot of my time. I would scroll endlessly until I came across a few interesting posts. So the natural solution was to hit the Unfollow button. I unfollowed about 95% of people, and kept the ratio to this day. There are people who share interesting things, and then there are people who share, well, cat memes and pics of their naked child. Next, I turned Facebook into an information source, I gathered all the relevant magazines, websites and news outlets that can help me grow personally and professionally. So now even if I do spend a lot of time on Facebook, it’s all to good use. I read massively and I can keep up to date with important stuff. The same goes for my LinkedIn account. As for Instagram, well, I turned that into a breath of fresh air. Visuals charge my batteries, so I try to go over once a day and check out the fashion, photography, nature and interior design updates from the accounts I follow.

Silencing notifications

Back in the day, I would get excited every time I got a ding on my phone. I associated it with a feeling of accomplishment and self importance. Yeah, I’m laughing at my old self too right now. Somehow those dings got more frequent, and the impulse to check them every time made me stop from the important tasks I was working on. It was stressful, and it scratched my ears and itched my nerves. So one day I did the unthinkable: I went to Settings and shut all notifications down. I didn’t need to know when someone liked one of my pics or commented on one of my posts. I could always see that later and respond. The only alert I have on my phone right now is email, and it’s a blessing for my focus. I mostly work on my laptop, so I see mails as they arrive anyway, and decide if I need to respond asap or not.

Planning ahead & making lists

In the last couple of years, as my job got more complex and I had another child, the amount of things I have to do increased. Sometimes I would forget or remember too late, and I couldn’t afford it. What I did was write down lists. It made me accountable, and I could jot down whatever I needed to do whenever I thought of it. I already wrote about the Wunderlist app in a previous post. I have a generic to do list, which at the moment is 3 planner pages long. 75% of it is finished, and the remaining tasks are due whenever I have enough time. A while ago, I started working with daily to do lists, because I need to work with deadlines. In order to finish something on time, I need to know when it’s due. Another thing I did that made my workload a lot easier was break tasks into smaller steps. Of course, that means starting earlier to leave room to go back to it. For instance, I can write copy in a day, but writing 3 days in a row gives me another perspective. The same goes for design. The following day I’ll always have a new, improved vision. And it eases the pressure, especially when I inevitably reach a dead end with inspiration. This is not multitasking, it’s just focus on delivering something with high quality.

SMITN

I recently took the 5-day Optimize Your To Do List Challenge from Productive & Free, which has 5 daily lessons. On day one, you are supposed to write down every single task you have to do. On day 2, you should identify your SMITN, or Single Most Important Task Now. I was already doing this without realizing, because among the priorities (isn’t that term a funny pun unintended?) I always chose the most important, the one that had to be finished first. We always see priorities, as in plural, and main priority, written black on white as if it’s not a living contradiction. A priority is a priority, if there are more then it stops being a priority, right? Apparently not in the current age we’re living in. Anyway, let’s move on. Day 3 is about scheduling. I skipped this one, because while I’m committed enough by writing something down, I am not capable to work with schedules. That’s why I love being chaotically organized. Day 4 comes with an important advice: include rest in the schedule. Like write it down in your daily list. If it helps, do just that. I’m self programmed to rest, considering I’m less than 4 weeks away from my due date of birth, so I didn’t need any external reminder. And finally day 5 is for including keystone habits, like reading, journaling, etc. Since no 2 days are the same for me, putting that on my list would only mean postponed tasks. But I do dedicate time to these habits whenever I can. I have days when I catch up on reading or when I plan. Or when I take a break. The single most important thing in this long paragraph? Always choose your SMITN 😉

Saying yes to challenges

It’s in our creative genes to accept challenges. If you’re anything like me, you say yes just to see if you can do it. Challenges help us grow and discover things we didn’t know about ourselves and our abilities. They help us perfect our skills. Overall, they make us feel better. If anyone told me 3 years ago I’d leave my job and do marketing in a startup, I would have never believed them. Of course it was tough at first, and there was a lot of self learning and self improvement going on in the background, but here I am 2 years into it. I am happy with where I am professionally. On the other hand, I’m aware I have to improve constantly. Here’s where the challenge part comes. Every day brings challenges, whether it’s something I’ve never done before or a deadline that appeared out of the blue.

The Pomodoro method

At the beginning of this year, I read about the Pomodoro method somewhere. It comes in handy, especially if you work from home and you have to organize your days to fit a lot of things. The philosophy is simple: work in 25-minute slots and then take 5-minute breaks. The lesson you learn is focus, focus, and then focus some more. Because you only have little time, you will concentrate better and be able to do more. Naturally, it can’t be applied every time to every task, but it does help you get more organized in the long run.

Taking a break

Who doesn’t love a good break? For me, a good break is when I get to lie down 5 minutes with my eyes closed and try to close the too many tabs my brain has open at that moment. An even better break is when I have enough time to go on a small shopping spree. Getting away means getting refreshed and rebuilding your energy. We work in bursts, let’s face it. If we know ourselves, we know when we are at our best and we should take advantage of it. There are days when I can’t focus, or when I don’t feel like doing anything work related. I turn those days into family days or me days, just because I can. But the next day, I’ll recover the time I spent doing something else, it doesn’t stop me from reaching deadlines.

In the end, I just want to leave you with 2 pieces of thought: your planner is your new BFF (if it isn’t already) and you don’t need to work hard, you rather need to work smart.

What am I waiting for?

I read somewhere that you should act as soon as you get a thought. Because if you don’t do it in the first 10 seconds, your brain starts to find excuses on why you shouldn’t take that action. We tend to postpone or procrastinate a lot in our personal and professional lives. We are always behind and feel overwhelmed because there’s always a lot to catch up on. But if we start living in the now, if we start doing, everything becomes much easier and there’s plenty of time left. Stay tuned for more on how to beat procrastination, it’s a subject I’ve come across often lately and I’m trying to tackle this week. In the meantime, watch the video 😉

The simple but monumental differences between B2B & B2C marketing

Marketing is a complex field. Actually it is a maze of its own where you have to navigate carefully to lead clients and their customers from start to finish. I may be a little bit subjective here, since I mostly do B2B marketing, but from my experience B2C is the easy way out because of various reasons you will read throughout the post.

Let’s begin with the audience and market. While B2B audiences are avid for knowledge and info because they need and want to stay on top, B2C audiences are looking for something entertaining, short and sharable. And if it’s a bargain, all the better. The message is completely different and has to be tailored to that specific audience. While in B2B content has to be detailed and long, and to make use of jargon as much as possible in order to show expertise, in B2C it needs to be fun, easy to remember and spoken in the audience’s daily language. And since we’re on this topic, the markets vary in size as well. B2B markets are generally small niche markets with at most a few hundred thousand customers, while B2C are incredibly wide markets, with tens of millions of customers.

Purchasing decision is another hot topic with tremendous differences for both areas. B2B purchases are usually based on logic, while B2C purchases are all about emotion. While B2C marketing addresses just one individual at a moment in time, B2B marketing is about a group of individuals who have to reach an agreement and to be able to justify their decision using arguments. This decision can turn them into heroes or it can cost them their jobs in the long run. Naturally, more individuals involved in the decision making process and the organizational procedures which have to be followed translates into more time (months up to years) and money spent on the sales cycle.

B2B marketing is by far more expensive, and it has to be backed up by 3 key elements: logic, financial benefits for customers and data. For the B2C category, the purchasing process is much shorter, varying from minutes to days at most. B2C marketing is based on one-off opportunities where the audience has to be convinced they need and want that product. Basic needs such as hunger can be triggers, but most of the time it’s about cost, desire and status. B2C marketing is led by want, and its cost scales from a few dollars to a few thousand, while B2B marketing is driven by need and budget and it can cost anything between thousands and millions.

B2C marketing is about convincing a single customer to buy a product in order to satisfy an immediate need. Ok, maybe that lipstick isn’t an immediate need, but if you were a woman, you’d understand why you have to have the exact shade your friend just bought. B2B marketing, on the other hand, is all about offering complex solutions for corporate pain points. It’s not as easy to sell technology to a bunch of C level people who have no clue about needing to upgrade. While B2C relationships are usually short, B2B relationships are lengthy. A company won’t switch providers easily, especially if they are satisfied with their services. Sales will be repeated throughout the relationship, and customers can benefit from extended services such as installation, updates, upgrades, etc. Of course, the marketing & sales effort has to prove deep knowledge about the product, about how it works and about exactly what the customers receive upon purchase.

Marketing in general focuses on the benefits a product or service can bring to customers, and less on its features. B2B marketing should be specific on how the product saves money, time and resources, while B2C marketing should be very clear and to the point about how the product will help consumers. Individuals do not have the patience or willingness to try and understand all about new products, while companies can designate a department for that matter. Whatever type of marketing you choose, do it smartly and sprinkle some creativity on top. Don’t be afraid to find new angles and do what hasn’t been done before.

Alexander Wagner: What really motivates people to be honest in business

Each year, one in seven large corporations commits fraud. Why? To find out, Alexander Wagner takes us inside the economics, ethics and psychology of doing the right thing. Join him for an introspective journey down the slippery slopes of deception as he helps us understand why people behave the way they do.

“The idea I want to leave you with is it’s all right to appeal to incentives. I’m an economist; I certainly believe in the fact that incentives work. But do think about selecting the right people rather than having people and then putting incentives in place. Selecting the right people with the right values may go a long way to saving a lot of trouble and a lot of money in your organizations. In other words, it will pay off to put people first.”

https://embed.ted.com/talks/alexander_wagner_what_really_motivates_people_to_be_honest_in_business

How to be true to yourself

It is only when we stop trying to defend ourselves against the world, it is when we are not resistant to change that our authentic self emerges, because we are only truly ourselves when there’s no fear of losing our identity.

Wanting to be authentic means being very open to change, because that’s the only way to let ourselves grow, to be the best version of ourselves, and to be happy, always.