August 24, 2017
Comments Off on It’s Time to Take Blockchain Seriously

It’s Time to Take Blockchain Seriously

Bitcoin, Etherereum, Ripple, Iota, Neo. To some these are meaningless buzzwords, but to others they represent the dawn of a new type of thinking. The truth, as always, is in a grey area between these two perspectives.

2017 will forever go down as the year where cryptocurrencies started becoming mainstream, resulting in an explosion in total market cap as well as an emergent type of investment scheme known as the initial coin offering (ICO). This has created an almost unhealthy amount of hype in the eco-system, attracting the attention of governments, businesses, investment funds, but also hackers, scammers and people looking to just make lots of money.

As John Mcaffee explained in a recent interview, blockchain technology is perhaps the most important invention since the dawn of agriculture, which will result in a global depreciation in fiat currency as the world’s wealth gradually shifts digitally. Although he’s perhaps a little optimistic, the trend is quite clear that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are here to stay. They solve some core problems which lead to several interesting paradigm shifts in the thinking behind what money is:

  1. The blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not owned by anyone in particular, they are merely algorithms for achieving group consensus so that transactions and programming can be executed in a trustless, programmatic manner.
  2. Cryptocurrencies are the first asset in human existence that cannot be physically seized or forcibly depreciated. Fiat currencies used to be backed by gold reserves, but now are backed by little less than a promise from the federal reserve, which can print more dollars at any time they choose. Bitcoin, in contrast, takes an incredible amount of electricity investment to generate and cannot simply be printed due to its algorithm, thus tethering its value to a proof of work required in generating more coins by miners.
  3. Global trade and investment has now become 100% frictionless, borderless, trustless, and is facilitated at very low costs and high speeds. For a teenager in China to be able to invest in a community project in Kenya with the few clicks of a mouse is an incredible development, which will result in orders of magnitude increases in global market participation and efficiency.
  4. The trustless programmatic flow of funds that Ethereum has created will result in global shifts that we can’t even yet imagine. At this moment, there are companies that have launched that are looking to decentralize every industry imaginable from insurance, supply chain management, advertising, gambling, identity management, and global energy markets. Utilizing blockchain allows their business models to be executed in a more efficient manner, reducing costs, increasing transparency and allowing for easy global participation.
  5. There is very little barrier to entry to utilizing blockchain and investing in cryptocurrencies, you don’t need much more than a mobile phone or PC with an internet connection to participate in this new eco-system. This is especially important in developing markets where there barriers to participation in the new economy, and I believe countries and governments that adopt these technologies and empower their populations to use them will prosper significantly in the coming years and decades.
  6. A new class of cryptocurrencies is emerging, known as “stable coins”. These are digital coins backed in a 1:1 manner with real world assets, such as currencies, gold, oil or even minerals. These produce a level of stabillity and allow hedging against the rapid swings that most cryptocurrencies have.

Just like the Internet in the early 90s, there is plenty of hope and an equal measure of danger. Millions have been made by speculators, and millions have also been lost to scammers and hackers. This is just the nature of new technology, and I believe that as time progresses and the system matures it will become far easier and safer to use, as much of the technicalities will be abstracted by software. We are at the equivalent of the early stage of sending e-mails, which means the future is incredibly bright.

November 12, 2015
Comments Off on 6 Things Successful Leaders Do Differently

6 Things Successful Leaders Do Differently

Great leadership can be a difficult thing to pin down and understand. You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time articulating what it is that makes their leadership so effective.

It was recently rumored that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz would run for president, but Schultz shut the idea down almost immediately. He wrote in an article:

“Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray. I’m not done serving at Starbucks.”

Schultz commitment to his company over the temptation of the limelight is interesting. What’s admirable is his desire to be a leader who serves.

Service isn’t just something Schulz gives lip service to in the press; his mission is to create a company where people are treated with respect and dignity, and he backs this rhetoric up with his money and time. Starbucks will spend $250 million over the next 10 years to put benefit-eligible employees through college, and Schultz wakes up every day at 4:00 a.m. to send motivational e-mails to his employees (the email he wrote yesterday asking employees to show empathy for customers who have been affected by the plummeting stock market is an interesting, recent example of this).

It’s through a leader’s actions—what he or she does and says on a daily basis—that the essence of great leadership becomes apparent.

“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise.”   –Howard Schultz

Behavior can change, and leaders who work to improve their skills get results.

In Schultz’s case, he’s been honing his leadership craft for three decades through, among other things, the direct coaching and mentoring of leadership expert Warren Bennis at USC.

Not everyone can take on Warren Bennis as a mentor, of course, but when it comes down to it, improving your leadership skills is within your control. You just need to study what great leaders do and to incorporate these behaviors into your repertoire.

There are six critical things that great leaders do that really stand out. Any of us can do the same.

They’re kind without being weak

One of the toughest things for leaders to master is kindness. Kindness shares credit and offers enthusiastic praise for others’ work. It’s a balancing act, between being genuinely kind and not looking weak. The key to finding that balance is to recognize that true kindness is inherently strong—it’s direct and straightforward. Telling people the difficult truth they need to hear is much kinder than protecting them (or yourself) from a difficult conversation. This is weak.

True kindness also doesn’t come with expectations. Kindness is weak when you use it in a self-serving manner. Self-serving kindness is thin—people can see right through it when a kind leader has an agenda. Think of Schultz, who dedicated $250 million to employee education with no strings attached, and as soon as employees finish their degree, they are free to walk out the door. That’s true kindness.

They’re strong without being harsh 

Strength is an important quality in a leader. People will wait to see if a leader is strong before they decide to follow his or her lead or not. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show strength themselves when their leader does the same.

A lot of leaders mistake domineering, controlling, and otherwise harsh behavior for strength. They think that taking control and pushing people around will somehow inspire a loyal following. Strength isn’t something you can force on people; it’s something you earn by demonstrating it time and again in the face of adversity. Only then will people trust that they should follow you.

3. They’re confident, without being arrogant

We gravitate to confident leaders because confidence is contagious, and it helps us to believe that there are great things in store. The trick, as a leader, is to make certain your confidence doesn’t slip into arrogance and cockiness. Confidence is about passion and belief in your ability to make things happen, but when your confidence loses touch with reality, you begin to think you can do things you can’t and have done things you haven’t. Suddenly it’s all about you. This arrogance makes you lose credibility.

Great, confident leaders are still humble. They don’t allow their accomplishments and position of authority to make them feel that they’re better than anyone else. As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they don’t ask their followers to do anything they aren’t willing to do themselves.

4. They stay positive, but remain realistic 

Another major challenge that leaders face is finding the balance between keeping things positive and still being realistic. Think of a sailboat with three people aboard: a pessimist, an optimist, and a great leader. Everything is going smoothly until the wind suddenly sours. The pessimist throws his hands up and complains about the wind; the optimist sits back, saying that things will improve; but the great leaders says, “We can do this!” and he adjusts the sails and keeps the ship moving forward. The right combination of positivity and realism is what keeps things moving forward.

5. They’re role models, not preachers

Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders saythat integrity is important to them, but great leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Harping on people all day long about the behavior you want to see has a tiny fraction of the impact you achieve by demonstrating that behavior yourself.

6. They’re willing to take a bullet for their people 

The best leaders will do anything for their teams, and they have their people’s backs no matter what. They don’t try to shift blame, and they don’t avoid shame when they fail. They’re never afraid to say, “The buck stops here,” and they earn people’s trust by backing them up. Great leaders also make it clear that they welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than their own. They know that an environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insights, and ask good questions is destined for failure.

Bringing it all together

Great leadership is dynamic; it melds a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole. Incorporate the behaviors above into your repertoire, and you’ll see immediate improvement in your leadership skills.

September 7, 2015
Comments Off on The SA Social Media Landscape in 2015

The SA Social Media Landscape in 2015

The annual Social Media Landscape Report, compiled by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, is being released in under two weeks and contains some highly impactful findings on social media usage in South Africa. This report is a must for brands, agencies and marketers across the board to fully understand what is happening in social media.

The social media landscape in SA has shifted subtly but dramatically this year, especially in light of the large Instagram growth. Visually rich imagery dominates newsfeeds, and the new streaming content players are certainly going to see increased uptake in the next 12 months. Social media is evolving towards its pinnacle – on-demand content creation, consumption and engagement in any format, at any time and any place. There has been decreased brand content engagement the board, indicating that newsfeeds have become too saturated and brands need to start paying up to get to the reach and engagement they desire.

Although business impact in terms of revenues is difficult to quantify, engagement and reach of branded content has substantially shifted in 2015. Twitter has become far too crowded to become consistently useful for brands, resulting in large drops in engagement on brand content. Facebook engagement has risen slightly, but this boost is also coupled with an increase in paid media spend on the platform. Instagram is the social network star of the year, with triple digit user growth in the last year as well as engagement on brand content that is an order of magnitude higher than that of the other networks. Social media has also become a large traffic source for publishers and consumer-centric brands alike, and social media optimization (SMO) has become as critical as search engine optimization (SEO).

The use of social media as a CRM tool for businesses has increased dramatically, especially with smaller businesses beginning to use Twitter and Linked In to communicate with their customers. Social media sentiment can be used to drive business strategy and product innovation, serving as a far more fundamental piece of the business puzzle than just a communications function. Social media analytics are also used to accurately gauge what makes consumers tick about a brand, with this data serving as an input instead of just an output to successful marketing campaigns.

Social media growth is still solid, but has slowed across the board with the exception of Instagram, with most networks having grown at a modest 15-25% over the last year. We’ve seen new entrants that focus on live streaming of video content, Periscope and Meerkat, but they have not seen significant uptake in the local market as yet. Content has become much richer across the board, with a large emphasis on videos and high resolution pictures being shared. This trend reflects even on Twitter, where a single picture can tell a story far more than 140 characters of text can, and brands are capitalizing on this by publishing a large amount of visual content on the network. Companies have also gotten serious about spending on media, with a significant increase in paid media spend on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube respectively – however Facebook still remains the network that delivers the highest ROI to companies, according to our corporate survey.

Instagram is the fastest growing social network in the country, with triple digit growth in the last 12 months. The growth is also leap-frogging the normal early adopter crowd and reaching mass market earlier than usual, with local television celebrities and presenters leading the charts in terms of followers. Photo filter usage on the network has dropped to record lows, and the most engaged with images tend to have no filter at all, indicating that people have grown tired of the special effects that sparked initial interest to use the platform.

Facebook has experienced solid consistent growth across all segments, with one very interesting difference. Feature phone usage is plummeting in the platform and is associated with an equivalent rise in smartphone usage. As predicted, the low cost of entry level smartphones are proliferating the market and have shifted device usage significantly in only 12 months. Although the Nokia Asha still leads the way as the top phone used to access Facebook, usage of this phone on Facebook has dropped by over 400,000 people in the last 12 months.

Twitter has increased in usage over the last year, but growth has significantly slowed. With the recent Periscope acquisition, there is an increased emphasis towards integrating the platform with real-time streaming video content. Twitter engagement on brand content has dropped significantly compared to last year. Brands are posting more content than ever before on the social network, but even paid-for campaigns are often not seen as relevant by Twitter users. For the first time ever, more than 50% of all surveyed brands post content once per day or more – but this is translating to a sea of noise that doesn’t necessarily result in business value.

Linked In usage has grown significantly in the last 12 months, with a large number of smaller businesses joining the platform in 2015. Entry level workers represent the largest increase in numbers in terms of seniority level, growing by 21% in the last year. Operations, healthcare and education personnel are joining the network the fastest across all industries.

MXit has experienced a further decline in users compared to the year before, but the platform is also restructuring its business model to focus on empowering Africans and accelerating economic and social growth in the region, by placing a stronger emphasis on social services and associated programmes. A fundamental shift away from just the typical instant messenger model employed by WeChat or Whatsapp, it will also allow businesses to help make a difference in education and healthcare through CSI initiatives in the platform.

In a surprise finding, corporate blogging has seen a strong resurgence as the importance and relevance of long form content surpasses 140 character updates. Corporate blogs are seen as more effective marketing channels than any social network, as surveyed by SA corporates.

The headline results will be presented and discussed by the top industry influencers at the Social Media Landscape Briefing, held in Johannesburg on 16 September 2015, and in Cape Town on the 17 September 2015. To book a ticket to these events, click on the links below:

Book for the Johannesburg event

Book for the Cape Town event

Enquire about the report

July 15, 2015
Comments Off on Solving The Hardest Problem in Marketing – Multi-Channel Attribution

Solving The Hardest Problem in Marketing – Multi-Channel Attribution

Today I’d like to discuss a problem that every marketer with significant cross-channel media spend struggles with – how does one optimally balance media spend across online and offline channels to maximize campaign goals?

We’ve become saturated in a sea of data, but many times are still so poor in actionable insights. There are numerous reasons for this, from technological and budgetary limitations to a lack of available skills, resources and understanding. Each of these pose a unique challenge to measuring and optimizing marketing efforts, but there is a silver lining here – as more of the media mix becomes digital and further investment is made into upskilling marketers, media measurement will become clearer, more transparent and standardized.

Measuring Paid vs Owned vs Earned Media

This model has been a cornerstone of media measurement for many years and is still widely prevalent in the industry. However, it has become quite outdated as digital, social and mobile channels blur the line between the three. If I watch an ad on TV, go to YouTube to watch it on the brand’s channel, then share it with my friends, that asset begins as paid (by virtue of being an ad), then becomes owned (when it’s posted on YouTube) and earned (when it shows up in my friends’ news feeds).

As a marketer, I need to understand how consumer behaviour is impacted by my marketing collateral across all these channels, whether they’re offline, online, paid, owned or earned. Despite the sea of data available to us, there are so many factors we just don’t know, including:

  • How did the TV ad drive social behaviour and sharing?
  • What was the impact of social media shares on offline sales?
  • Across how many screens did these activities take place?
  • How do we measure lifetime value of customers originated from each channel?

In this mass of questions, it is easy to get confused about what problem we’re really trying to solve. The first aspect of solving a complex problem involves clearly defining the problem statement, from which we can use systems thinking to break down the problem into simpler inter-relatable parts.

A simpler question to ask may be:
“What offline sales can be attributed to online channels?”

Another question we can ask is:
“What is the online impact of our offline campaigns?”

From here, it is easier to define strategies that can be put into place to give us the right answers with a reasonable degree of confidence.

As marketing professionals, we need to keep in mind that there are no silver bullets to multi-channel attribution. We need to clearly define our measurement goals and the problems we’re trying to solve, by first asking the simplest possible questions to get us to the right answers.

We also need to be cognisant of the fact that there are still massive gaps in our data, as the marketing eco-system is owned by many different players who keep data in walled silos. Despite what people may tell you, for example, the following problems have not been solved in any simple, standardized way:

It is almost impossible to track a single person’s behaviour across multiple devices, unless they are logged in across all devices to a portal where the data can be accessed by the analyst. Facebook, for example, allows us to log into our PCs, phones, smart TVs, but certainly doesn’t share individual usage data to marketers.
Online-only multi-channel attribution has become incredibly sophisticated, and existing analytics solutions can already track clickstream data across social, web, PPC and banners to attribute digital media spend to specific channels. However, there is no simple solution for bringing this data into the offline space, e.g. cookie data cannot easily be linked back to an offline credit card purchase.
With online remarketing it has become easy to target people across different platforms based on their past behaviour, but it is still not possible to link cookie data back to individuals on social media. If I click on a promoted tweet for an e-commerce campaign but abandon my cart, a social community manager can’t message me to start a conversation about my pending purchase. This is obviously for good reason, as the privacy implications would be disastrous.

With all this in mind, I’d like to present a few strategies that can be put in place to answer the previous questions put forth.

“What offline sales can be attributed to online channels?”

Strategy 1 – Loyalty programmes
With a well-implemented loyalty programme, it becomes easier to track an individual across different channels and link them to a loyalty account or club card. Many local retailers use this to great effect. Customers can sign up on a website to receive a loyalty number, which they then use in-store afterwards.

Strategy 2 – Customer Surveys
The tried and tested strategy of simply asking your customers about the product special or campaign works amazingly well. Plenty more data can be collected if this is linked to a reward such as a competition entry or product discount. It is vital to ask the right questions here to ensure the insights are not skewed.

Strategy 3 – Promotional codes
In-store promo codes and coupons can be used to track customers who have claimed them online. Linking the online coupon codes to the offline purchases creates a direct data link between online exposure and offline behaviour, which can result in a mass of insights. Its important to generate coupon codes that can be traced to individual online media channels, days, times and even specific ads. The coupon then becomes an aggregated hash of the consumer’s online exposure..

Strategy 4 – Unique CTAs
Unique call to actions that are not marketed offline can be used to gauge behaviour from an online campaign. An example of this is a telephonic call to action with a number that is unique to the online campaign. Another example would be directing people to an activation at a specific time or place, and tracking the correlation between this behaviour and online exposures. Although not perfect, these kinds of creative measurements can go a long way towards providing cross-channel insights.

“What is the online impact of our offline campaigns?”

Strategy 1 – Unique URLs and hashtags
Many local brands include unique URLs or hashtags in their above-the-line campaigns. A unique shortened URL can be easily shared on radio or a billboard, which can be tracked through online analytics solutions. Hashtags on billboard, print and TV ads can be used to stimulate online conversation and can be tracked using social analytics tools, but still need to be used in a creative way to maximize engagement.

Strategy 2 – Online surveys
Similar to the offline strategy, an online survey is incredibly quick and easy to put together, and can be included as part of the consumer’s purchase path as an easy way to aggregate data. For companies with a large number of respondents, this data can be segmented to assist with campaign strategy in the future.

Strategy 3 – Data correlation
Although attribution is all about finding causations between data, it is much easier to measure correlations in siloed data sets. Correlations can be misleading, simply because they can be based on data that has no connection, or misunderstood third-party factors can influence both datasets simultaneously. Just because the number of pirates in the world has decreased while global temperatures have increased, does not mean that the lack of pirates is causing global warming. In campaigns, hourly and daily media-spend can be correlated with social media shares and engagements, website traffic, and online purchases to find any potential links in the data.

There are many other strategies that can be implemented for specific campaigns, but it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits all solution to measurement. We must always tie our insights back into our business goals and problem statements so as to understand what we’re measuring, which will inform our measurement strategy going forward.

November 4, 2014
Comments Off on The World Needs to Change

The World Needs to Change

Our elected officials are heavily engaged in political showmanship, with very little real national progress to show for their efforts. It seems that our leaders continually dodge the pertinent questions, fail to communicate effectively with the very people that voted them into power and aren’t all that interested in progressing the nation forward.

The sheer amount of financial waste that is endemic across not only our government, but governmental bodies around the world, simply boggles the mind. Humanity’s raw output and progression has been incredible, but I believe we are only reaching a tiny fraction of our true potential as a species. There are real concerns that world leaders aren’t addressing effectively, such as climate change, the stale state of education and insufficient progress in public healthcare, to name a few. It is understandable though, as this is a by-product of the very political system we have all agreed to – leaders need to do everything in their power to win the short term votes, while disregarding any issues that have high-risk solutions or that will take several election runs to address and correct.

The culture of systemic corruption that serves to benefit the connected few is also a by-product of the very capitalist system by which we all abide. Real solutions are scarce, and I believe cannot be solved by a single person (not even by a remarkable president). It should be a priority of every person to make an effort to improve not only the welfare of themselves and their families, but also their communities and nations. We are all connected in this globalized economy, and the more people that are positively impacted by the actions you take, the more the network effects spread throughout the system benefiting everyone. Thus, a concerted effort is required.

While there’s no magic solution because society is fragmented and diverse with opinions and culture, we can at least agree to the fact that we are all human beings sharing in this experience together, regardless of individual views. We all have the capacity to love, to hate, to create and destroy, to forgive, to inspire and be inspired. We need to rally around the positive values that are inherent within as all, the values that we sometimes see perfectly espoused in exceptional figures such as the late Nelson Mandela. Let those positive core human values be your guide, as those are what make us truly remarkable, and, when aligned with a motivated individual, have the greatest capacity for global upliftment.

June 4, 2014

Building a New Type of Media Company

I love media. It’s a dynamic industry that always keeps you on your toes. Although I’ve only been in media for just over 4 years, through Fuseware I’ve worked with SA’s top brands and media houses to help them understand social media and broader digital trends. My knowledge of programming and technology has also helped in identifying market opportunities, and I would implore anyone in the industry to get their hands dirty with some code if they get half a chance. It really changes your perspective of the world.

With that said, I still believe South African media companies (and I am referring to media owners that are going digital now) are not doing things as optimally as they could. There is room for massive improvement which has the potentially to be tremendously lucrative if applied correctly. If I were to start my own digital media company or head one up, this is how I would do things.

A global focus with local execution

I truly believe that South Africa houses some of the best creative talent in the world. We are rockstars at content production, advertising and creative campaigns, and win awards globally because of this. Very little of our talent, however, is applied to international content production and many local media owners focus solely on the South African market. I love SA, but the market is simply too small to really capitalize on many of today’s global media trends. Luckily with the Internet, country borders are blurred and a content team can produce for an international audience. South Africans need to open up their minds and see what lies beyond our borders that can be leveraged.

Data driven publishing

We live in the digital age and can track, split test and optimize anything that can be measured. There are some extremely sophisticated methods for optimizing online advertising, yet very few of these models have been well applied to content. If we can measure every part of our reader’s journey on our site, why can’t we optimize the entire experience uniquely for them to ensure they always keep coming back? External data is also not used that often, perhaps because publishers traditionally have not been technology companies so maybe are not fully aware of what’s possible. From my trove of data, I can tell you right now the articles people are reading and sharing on any website in the world, what content specific demographic segments are consuming, and what content is hot right now across any vertical. Why don’t publishers use the vast troves of internet-based data to create better content and understand what their audiences really want, in real-time?

Diversification of revenue sources

Its 2014 and there are more ways to make money online than there are Buzzfeed clones. Yet most publishers are fixated on pay walls, or default back to Google Ads. You’re generating millions of daily impressions, yet you’re OK with a $2 RPM? There are better monetization models, or at the very least other methods worth testing, especially if you operate in a niche vertical. My goal here would be to establish direct partnerships with other publishers, brands and advertisers that operate in a synergistic way to go way beyond just ad placements. Imagine what is possible when you combine content and commerce in a value-creating way while integrating your technology with an e-commerce giant?

Creating meaningful impact

Perhaps this is more of a personal goal of mine than a must-have for the industry, but most content produced on the web is mind-numbingly hollow. The troves of fake content, nonsensical quizzes and click-bait devoid of value have overtaken social networks. This is what the masses want so many publishers are willing to give it to them, but this kind of intellectual fast food only serves to dumb-down the masses and doesn’t really progress us forward as a global community. I believe that technology can be used to empower, inspire and educate people which then elevates them to new levels of self-awareness and thinking. Content that creates a meaningful impact on a person’s life, while simultaneously drawing them in using age-old techniques, is where the sweet spot lies. This may not be the case for hard news, but for many niche publishers this is what consumers want.

Be emotive, not sensational

Today’s consumer wants to be emotionally moved through content. Clickbait-type content works because it feeds that allure of high quality emotive content, only to disappoint once the user has clicked through. Sensational headlines are known to draw traffic, and traffic means money, so it’s hard to provide a business reason to not be sensational. However, I believe that emotive content, content that truly makes a person inspired, nostalgic or excited can attain far greater reach in the digital age. A sensational headline would perhaps make me purchase a newspaper, but an emotive article will make me share the content on social media – an action that can be far more valuable. Click-baiting still works, but if used needs to be followed through with an equally rewarding experience, not an anti-climax.

True social integration

This isn’t about adding a comments section and a link to a related hashtag in an article. Social media has become the largest source of traffic for many of the world’s top publishers, yet the loop hasn’t always closed on how to integrate social media in a really meaningful way. This isn’t even a conversation about crowdsourcing content from social media. It’s about using social media audiences to fundamentally drive the content creation process. It’s also about bringing the key online influencers into meaningful conversations around content and seeding the content socially anywhere on the web. The irony is that many of the world’s top bloggers have gotten the social formula right, but traditional publishers are still clueless at times.

The digital age has changed so much how we live, work and play. It’s also changed how we discover our world. Consumers want to be consumed by amazing digital experiences through content, and today’s media owners are in the perfect position to do just that.

May 30, 2014

Andrew Carnegie’s 10 Rules Of Success

Andrew Carnegie arrived in the U.S. in 1848 with barely a dollar to his name. By 1901, he was the richest man in the world.

At the height of his power, he was approached by a young journalist named Napoleon Hill who was interested in telling the stories of successful people.

Carnegie saw a special drive in Hill and in 1908 decided that Hill would document all of the strategies that made him a legendary businessman and philanthropist.

Together, they helped pioneer the self-help genre, and Hill’s 1937 book “Think and Grow Rich” has gone on to become one of the top-selling books of all time.

When Hill began his career writing about success, Carnegie gave him his “10 Rules of Success” that provided a foundation for much of Hill’s work. Here’s a synopsis of the rules, which appear in the forthcoming collection “The Science of Success”:

1. Define your purpose.

Create a plan of action and start working toward it immediately.

2. Create a “master-mind alliance.”

Contact and work with people “who have what you haven’t,” Hill says.

3. Go the extra mile.

“Doing more than you have to do is the only thing that justifies raises or promotions, and puts people under an obligation to you,” writes Hill.

4. Practice “applied faith.”

Believe in yourself and your purpose so fully that you act with complete confidence.

5. Have personal initiative.

Do what you have to without being told.

6. Indulge your imagination.

Dare to think beyond what’s already been done.

7. Exert enthusiasm.

A positive attitude sets you up for success and wins the respect of others.

8. Think accurately.

In Hill’s words, accurate thinking is “the ability to separate facts from fiction and to use those pertinent to your own concerns or problems.”

9. Concentrate your effort.

Don’t become distracted from the most important task you are currently facing.

10. Profit from adversity.

Remember that “there is an equivalent benefit for every setback,” Hill writes.

May 22, 2014

Peter Jones from Dragons Den: Top 10 Rules to Build a Successful Business

Peter Jones is an entrepreneur I deeply admire and respect. A self made millionaire with a superb knack for business, he has a portfolio of over a dozen companies that he’s involved with. Peter has in recent years skyrocketed his personal brand through Dragons Den. He has also started his own show in the US called American Inventor.

What I admire most about Peter, however, is his desire to assist and help other entrepreneurs on their journeys. He has his own show on BBC called “How we made our millions” where he interviews and documents the stories of successful entrepreneurs, and also runs the Peter Jones Academy which serves to educate, encourage and support entrepreneurs.

Here are Peter’s top 10 rules for building a successful business.


Your vision is your destination. You’ll need a map to help you reach that destination, which will be made up of goals and results. The vision is the vital part, otherwise, you won’t know where you are heading and your goals will be irrelevant.


All businesses need business partners to grow. Tycoons know the importance of filling the gaps and weaknesses in their own skill set or business idea, by finding the parts of the jigsaw puzzle to create the best chance of success.


If you don’t believe in yourself or your idea, why should anyone else? Gain confidence through gaining experience, skills and knowledge. Change your perception of failure to realise that it provides feedback. Feedback provides essential learning to help know what not to do the next time.


Committing to follow through once a decision is made is an invaluable ally on your road to success. Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices. Commit to a common goal and make it happen, but commit to yourself and your health too.


Tycoons make things happen. They are driven by results. Planning for your success is as important as achieving success. You need to know exactly how you got there so your success can be duplicated, scaled up and multiplied, and it is that which turns an entrepreneur into a Tycoon.


Action is the bridge between your vision and results. Action involves figuring out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Without action there would be no results.


Anticipating the changing needs of the market and partners is crucial. Timing when to enter a market or not will help optimise success, as will knowing the right time and circumstances to start your business.


Tycoons go the extra mile. Perseverance, sheer determination and tenacity are core characteristics of the mindset of a Tycoon. Successful entrepreneurs battle against all the odds to build their business and always appreciate when it is time to get out. Try to have flexibility to work outside your own comfort zones in order to bring your dreams to fruition.


Relationships with people are key. Business and personal relationships should be cherished. Treat people how you yourself would want to be treated. Always remember that people are the lifeblood and engine room of any business.


Listen to your instincts. They can protect you from making poor business decisions and guide you down the right path.

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