Blog - Page 23 of 23 - Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted 17 Jul 2008

Be A Cubicle Rockstar!


So you are sitting in traffic trying to get to work on time, listening to the radio, cd, ipod, or even a tape (for those of you who have not upgraded since 1989). You finally get to work and leave it all in the car, just to sit in silence with just the noise of the tapping of the keyboard, daily celeb gossip from your coworkers, and the bubbling of the water cooler shooting through your ears. Tomorrow, it might be a good idea if you brought some of that music from your car into your cubicle. 

We have all heard the research that music helps you work more diligently, but have you ever seen the proof of it? A trial was done where 75 out of 256 employees  were given personal stereos to use for four weeks while working. After the study they showed a 10% increase on productivity. It is just not the increase in productivity though, because the research also showed that music that had an upbeat rhythm reduced stress hormone levels as much as 41%. Read More Which basically means that next time the boss asks you if you read the memo, there might not be an “incident” that involves a security escort and a pink slip of paper. Another rumor is that the music has to be classical, but it doesn’t. Classical music can be more distracting if it is not your personal preference. It is up to you whether music will help you focus more or be a distraction. 

If you don’t have an ipod, don’t worry. If you are around a computer there are several ways to listen to streaming music online. Many radio stations offer the option to listen to their broadcast online. iTunes has a radio station feature with loads of different types of music. Pandora allows you to make playlists of artists you enjoy and then it finds similar music to the artists your picked and adds them in the mix. Myspace is not just for 15 year olds to make friends. There is music section and you can find almost any artist known, plus others not well known, that should be well known. Most artists’ music pages feature 4-5 songs by that artist for your listening pleasure. And finally iheartmusic is a webstite that allows you to listen to full albums (even albums that have not been released yet!)

So, put on some headphones (your co-workers might not like Ice Ice Baby as much as you do, Yeah you know you like it) and get back to your happy extra 8 minutes of work. Just try not to burst out in song or bust a move in your rolly chair, you might embarrass yourself.


Posted 08 Jul 2008

Unexpected Opportunities

I was recently reading one of my favorite publications, FastCompany, and came across the perfect topic for a summer article: Baseball! For those of you not familiar with FastCompany, it is a publication for businesses, so for them to be talking about baseball just seemed like it would be fun.

No surprise, the article was talking about the business side of Major League Baseball, but what really got my interest was not that they were talking about the importance of general managers, but the current GM of the Rangers has not played on a team since he was in the 8th grade! Granted Jon Daniels is only 30 and landed an awesome internship with the Rangers a few years back that lined him up for the job. Daniels just loved the game, and even though he did not make the freshman team back in high school, he still found a way to do what he loves.

I am all about taking what you love and figuring out how to make it more than just a hobby. But the more I was thinking about Daniels that more I admired him. He did not get to have his dream job of playing baseball, but that did not mean he did not get the career of his dreams. The time that he did not get to play ball and he went did other things, like majoring in business, which helped give him a new perspective and expertise that makes him so good at what he does now. It is the perfect example of, if you get lemons make lemonade.

You never know how two very unique experiences can relate to one another. Not only is this a good life lesson, but it is a good business and marketing lesson. We learn from experiences even if they do not turn out the way we expect them to. Some of our greatest business ideas fall flat on their face, but what we have done in the past and what we do while we are recovering can set us up for opportunities that we could never imagine. So even though times may not be as lucrative as they have been in the past, the worst thing you can do it to stop trying. This is a great time to try new out new ideas – you never know where they can take you!

Posted 27 Jun 2008

A Secret to Reading Blogs

Shhh, I’m going to tell you a little secret. Well, actually what I’m disclosing is not really a secret at all. It’s just not as obvious or publicized as it should be. My “sneaky stash” deals with how I read blogs. But before I reveal my furtive formula allow me to detail how my new fancy for reading blogs came to be.

Over the last few years blogs have permeated the internet and have thus given every man, woman, and child a reason to throw their own First Amendment fiesta. As the masses began to exercise their new medium for free speech I began to look for a better set of headphones and a cooler pair of sunglasses. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the attraction to reading someone else’s bombastic blurbs was. My life with work, family, and home was busy enough without trying to sort through the web’s new can full of garbage. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what you’re thinking about my rhetoric right now, but if you hang with me for one more second I’ll get to the juice.

It’s not uncommon for me to search the internet for information that pertains to my job while I’m at work and I do the same with the things that interest me personally while I’m at home. What I soon began to find was that the results from my daily search queries often landed me repeatedly to a familiar set of web sites, many of which are… you guessed it. Blogs! And then serendipity hit me like a two ton heavy thing.

A secret to reading blogs is the RSS feed, often shrouded in the RSS feed icon. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a popular technology for notifying users of updates to content in a web site, blog, or Internet TV channel. The benefit of RSS is the aggregation of content from multiple web sources in one place. Basically, you don’t have to keep checking back to any particular web site to see if it’s been updated. All you need to do is subscribe to the RSS feed, much like you would subscribe to a newspaper, and then read the updates from the site, delivered via RSS feeds to your newsreader.

First, you’ll need to download an RSS newsreader (see Google for more about RSS newsreaders). Some internet browsers such as Firefox and Safari natively read RSS feeds and hence do not require the download of a separate newsreader. After you have a newsreader you can begin to look for those camouflaged RSS feed icons or links to RSS feeds in the web sites you often visit. Before long you’ll feel the same way about RSS feeds as you did about electricity. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Once you start using RSS feeds you’ll feel like you’re simply reading the headlines of all of your favorite newspapers and magazines. Sorting through the junk is easy and you can read only what you want to read. Just look for titles from your Favorites list in your Bookmarks that are worth looking at and the secret of RSS feeds will be revealed. You’ll be amazed with how the RSS technology dynamically changes those Bookmark titles.

If you have an RSS newsreader and would like to subscribe to the RPS blog then simply click on any of the RSS feed icons in this post or the Entries (RSS) link at the bottom of this web site. Happy blogging!

Posted 19 Jun 2008

Your Web Site Is Like a Car

Your web site is like a car in many ways. Let’s start with the fact that just like you need wheels to get around, you can’t really get around the business world today without a web site.

If you have a web site to upgrade or if you are considering launching your first web site, just like purchasing a car, you need to shop around. The one basic axiom to remember is, “You get what you pay for” and like purchasing a car, you can either buy or lease your new site.

Here are some tips for what I refer to as leasing. When you see a great deal for “Just $99.00 for Your Web Site”, this is a situation, where in addition to the $99, you will most likely be paying a monthly fee and “caution” you may have some heavy restrictions on how much you can expand your site in the future. In addition, if you choose to leave the web development company that has sold you this contract you will walk away with nothing, much like a car lease. Now, I am not saying this is a bad option for getting your Internet feet wet, just be aware of what you are buying. Ask a lot of questions! For example, if you are a regional sales representative you may not want to get into a car lease that will restrict your mileage. The same holds true if you have a very aggressive plan for starting and building your web presence this type of “leasing” situation is probably not for you.

So, let’s say you decided to buy! Still ask a lot of questions and interview your web designer and developer well. Before you select a firm be sure to look at web sites they have completed. Ask about their web development process – do they have procedures in place that will ensure that your site is completed in a timely manner and is compliant with current web standards.

Yes, you will probably suffer from sticker shock but remember, your web site is an investment and an asset to your company. Here is the big difference, unlike a car that depreciates, your web site will continue to gain in value to your customers and your staff as you develop it’s content and functionality. So, word to the wise, don’t cheap out, rather adopt a strategic plan. If you find a web developer that instills confidence in you and the chemistry works [yes, this is very important] then work out a plan. If the initial cost to build “the site of your dreams” just takes your breath away then build the site in phases. Start with your basic web site and set a plan for the development and launch of the subsequent areas of your site in the future.

One important thing to keep in mind is remember to take plenty of time on the front end planning for where you want to be five years from now with special emphasis on a flexible navigation system and a strategic plan that will improve your web presence each time you launch a new phase.

Find out in my next post “Keeping Your Site on the Internet – Don’t Get Derailed by Poor Record Keeping”

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