Monthly Archives: August 2010

How to hire an outsourced social media company!

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What do you look for when you hire a social media company?
Or should you be Buddhist about it and look within? Don’t ask me, the answer will come from within — from within this blog article! An interesting fact that I just learned is that more people are using social media for their business than ever before, yet the man-count at social media companies has shrunk a bit. More people are doing social media for their own companies which makes sense because you need to understand your industry in order to create quality content for your social networks.

Know thyself
It is impossible in business to know how to do everything yourself, nor should you even try. However, it is very difficult to hire others to do tasks for you if you don’t know anything about the task at hand. If you are uninformed, you will get substandard results from outsourced companies, and even get ripped off regularly. The good news is that you won’t feel a thing, because you won’t even know you are being ripped off. If you hire social media companies, you need to know something about content creation and analytics to survive the ordeal.

Quality content
Unfortunately, even seasoned professionals often cannot create the best quality content without some guidance. They tend to go off on tangents and explore crazy ideas that won’t sell well with your loyal clientele. As someone who hires bloggers, Twitterers, and Facebookers, you need to know how to identify quality content. Most social media companies can’t create content on their own. They make you do the hard stuff, and they just do the minimum wage type tasks and post your content.

If someone is handling your Twitter account, you need to be very aware of the technical process of how to operate a Twitter account. You might be managing someone who hasn’t a clue, and whose boss is not watching them. You need to know how to follow, follow back, interact, and write good tweets. You need to know if your outsourced social media company is getting you results for your money. Here are some metrics which might translate into results.

(1) New followers. If you get new followers, but they are not relevant, or don’t retweet anything, their value is limited.

(2) Clicks. If your followers don’t retweet, but they are clicking on your links and reading your blog, then you will get points with Google, and in my opinion, that is the bottom line.

(3) Retweets, favorites, mentions, etc. If you have an active crowd, you will get these, otherwise there will be silence which is bad. A good social media company will know how to bring life to your Twitter account and get people to interact.

(4) Shares and commentary. On Facebook, it is a little bit similar to Twitter. There are shares, and commentary. My experience is that Facebook followers are a lot more likely to post comments to your posts than on Twitter. If you want more of a forum type experience, then Linked in or Facebook might be your starting point.

Basically, when you hire a company to take care of your Twitter, Facebook, or other account, you need to measure their success on a monthly basis. You need to see if they are doing all of the interactions they promised to do (keep requirements in writing in emails for best results.) You need to track your total number of followers, and number of interactions as well. Basically, keep track of as much critical information as you can.

Slacking Off
Be careful. Social media companies typically hire millennials, This group tends to be very idealistic in their own way. But, if they lose interest in a project, they will not give their full 100%. Their attention span is not the greatest to begin with in any case. One guy went from 200% to 10% in a few months because he lost interest. When managing millennials, make sure they don’t lose interest, or have a change of attitude. Make sure they are not slacking off. If you notice that they are not doing what your agreement said they are to be doing, it is time to find someone new. Don’t trust whatever company you hire! Keep a close eye on them, and keep them on a short leash. I’m not saying to treat them like they are not trustworthy, just treat them like a father treats his six year old. The minute you stop watching them, all hell very easily breaks loose!

How do you interview these companies?
Most people who work at social media companies are horrible at communication and are not that knowledgeable about social media either. They know how to do certain types of repetitive tasks and certain marketing functions. Their knowledge is very rarely wide in scope. There will be a lot that they don’t know even in the most seasoned of experts. I have observed an expert who charges $250 per hour who doesn’t know how to craft a classy tweet — his tweets are very short and clunky. He is good at analytics, but not at composition. I met another expert who knows Twitter inside out, but who doesn’t know much about Google+. Here are some questions you can ask to get a sense of how these companies handle their work.

(1) Before you ask any questions, see if they even answer their phone or email. How fast before they call you back or return an email. I just emailed an American guy who runs a company in Thailand. He got back to me in 12 hours. I am very impressed!

(2) Ask them what techniques they use to grow a Twitter account. See how thorough their answer is.

(3) Tell them a little about your industry. Ask them what types of tweets they would write to attract readers. If the answer is evasive, or if they tell you that it is complicated, don’t put too much faith in them. People who have thinking skills will think of something useful to say when you ask them a question — that is the most valuable rule of interviewing companies.

(4) Tell them that you had a problem with Google+ and don’t know what the best way to solve it is. One guy told me just not to use Google+. That was not a very intelligent answer, although I agree that Google+ should not be the primary thrust of my marketing efforts.

(5) Ask to see some of their top five Twitter accounts that they manage. Send them a personal message to several of those accounts and see how they respond. If they don’t respond to you, then they won’t respond if they are handling your account. Also, by seeing the accounts of their clients, you can see if they are managing any successful accounts. You can see how good the tweets are, and see how fast their client’s accounts grow which is critical to your success.

Even if you don’t understand social media…
Even if you don’t know anything about social media, if you have common sense and take good notes, you can easily distinguish between responsible, knowledgeable teams and idiots — and there are a lot of idiots out there. Sometimes you get a smart manager who hires workers who can’t think which is another issue. Just because the manager is good, doesn’t guarantee that the workers will be. If you ask teams the questions I indicated above, you can compare answers. See which teams give you actual information, and which teams just tell you that it depends, or that it is difficult to say, or that they would need to look into it after they made you wait two weeks just to have a meeting with someone. Wrong answer!

It is generally good to try companies out for a few months on low. Don’t give them too much work. Give them enough to see how it is in real life working with them. After you make contact with a few dozen companies, pick two to try out, and if one doesn’t work out, try others. You will not find the perfect company on the first attempt, so expect that the shopping around process could last for years, and become complacent to that reality.

Be wary of contracts
When you are trying someone out, you don’t know if you will like them and you don’t know how good their work will be. Even if their work is good, they could lose their star employee and then it will all go downhill. Try to avoid large contracts. If your company insists on a contract, keep it as short and as small as possible. It is easy to get taken for a ride with a contract. The contract guarantees how much money you give them, but does it guarantee how much results you will get? I strongly suggest putting very detailed and well thought out results in the contract if they insist on a contract. You might not be able to get them to sign it, but at least the contract will be beneficial in some way to you instead of purely for them. In the long run you will be forced to sign contracts. Just shop around very carefully before you sign anything, and keep it as small as possible in the beginning, even if that means going overseas!

The story of Jacque DeLonge

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Back in the 1800’s in France, there was a man named Jacque DeLonge. He was from a long line of people whose job was to clean the sewers. But, Jacque was a very lazy guy. His boss couldn’t get him to do his job cleaning the sewers. They paid him good money, but he would spend it mostly on alcohol and then go home and beat his wife. The administrators in his part of France were furious. They were trying to run a clean province, but with guys like Jacque, how could they? Should they clean “Les Sewers” themselves? This is not real French, but for the entertainment purposes of English speakers we can imagine that it means “the sewers”, imagine the administrator Stephan saying this with a thick French accent throwing his hands in the air!

“Les Sewers!”

So, finally by the end of the 1800’s, the French administrators had had enough of these lazy French guys who commanded huge salaries, but did almost no work cleaning “Les Sewers.” They needed some desperate people to clean “Les Sewers.” They thought long and hard and came up with nothing. This problem that they had had for over one hundred years was getting worse and no solutions came to mind until one day came a knock on the door.

(knock knock knock)

The Solution — for now
Stephan said in his thick French accent: “Ooo is eet?” meaning who is it? A scrawny and desperate Algerian man who hadn’t eaten for days said he would do anything for a baguette and some meat — but, not pork as it was not Halal. Then Stephan said, “If pork is good enough for us, it is good enough for you!” Then, Fuad said, “I would rather starve with dignity rather than even touch this forbidden food!” Stephan was not impressed, and said that was all he had. Then Fuad said, “Fine, in that case you can find someone else to clean “Les Sewers” and slammed the door loudly.

Stephan realizing that he was going to lose a huge opportunity and chased Fuad for blocks through high snow drifts, ice, and other hazards. Finally, upon catching up to Fuad, he offered him some chicken, vegetables and lots of bread in a huge basket to take to his family. From that day forward, they hired Fuad to clean “Les sewers!” Fuad worked so hard and did such a good job that Jacque DeLonge was immediately fired. Stephan the administrator found a way to bring all of Fuad’s extended family over from Algeria and had them do all types of hard jobs that the locals wouldn’t do. But, one generation later, Fuad and his cousins’ children refused to do this type of work. They wanted to own gas stations or be rap artists. Okay, perhaps my story is a little historically inaccurate since we are still in the end of the 1800’s, but imagine 1800’s gas stations and 1800’s style rap music in French if you can.

But, the problem continued
Once again Stephan was in a bind. Nobody would clean the sewers. But, he had a solution. He would import another several thousand Algerian immigrants to do the hard work. The children of the first round of Algerians were even lazier than Jacque DeLonge, the lazy French sewer cleaner. Once again, twenty years later, the immigrants who came to do difficult jobs had each had ten children per family, none of whom wanted to do any type of hard work. Many were unemployed, many strived to be rap artists or drug dealers, and many did easier indoor jobs, but none would clean “Les sewers!”

A third round of immigrants & ethnic tensions
For the third time Stephan had a serious problem. He needed someone to clean “Les Sewers,” but his cleaners had retired, and their children didn’t want to do this type of work. Stephan was getting old now, so his son Gabriel took over his job. Gabriel gave work visas to tens of thousands of new immigrants from North Africa to do the tough jobs as the descendants of the earlier immigrants and the local French wouldn’t touch those jobs. So, the new immigrants came, the jobs got done. But, now they were experiencing a new type of problem. The first round of immigrants were few in numbers, and hard at work. There was no problem having them around. The second round of immigrants were more in numbers, and hard at work. The children of the first round of immigrants were few, and only a handful made trouble. But, now there were more children, grandchildren, more drugs, more rap music, more unemployment, and lots of tension between Christians and Muslims. The tension became eventually unleashed itself in violence as Muslims were tired of being segregated by society and Christians felt threatened. So, what’s the solution.

A fourth round of immigrants.
Once again there were more people in France by now, and more sewers, but nobody wanted to clean them. So Gabriel, let in the fourth round of immigrants to clean the sewers. But, now the Muslim population of France was about 10% and with their fast birth rate and high rate of immigration, statisticians believe they would be 50% within a generation. This would be okay if the Christians and Muslims could live in peace together, but they never enjoyed each others company and terror attacks were on the rise making it unsafe for anyone to live in France. Once again, after round four of immigrants retired, someone new needed to come to clean the sewers.

A fifth round
A fifth round of immigrants came to clean the sewers. They were escaping starvation and political unrest in Libya, Algeria, and poverty in Morocco. They were happy to be away from their problems. But, the more of them who came to France, France inherited the type of problems that existed in the old country. The only thing that happened is that their problems became geographically transplanted — but didn’t go away. Gabriel’s son Maxwell’s administrative problems didn’t go away either as he once again ran out of people to clean the sewers. By now the Muslim population in France was 20%, and it was clear that they would take over if more came. So, the white French tried to slow down the inevitable by changing who they let immigrate to France. Even after changing who the immigrants were, the Muslim population grew quickly due to their high birth rate and due to illegal immigration as well.

A change in immigration strategy involving Russians
From then on, they decided to let in people who were less prone to extremism, and more compatible with the indigenous French population. They invited Filipinos and Russians to come to clean “Les Sewers.” Anatoly was a Russian sewer cleaner, and one of the best they had seen. He worked tirelessly and gave France the cleanest sewers that they had seen in five hundred years. He did his work with pride. Maxwell, the grandson of Stephan gave him gifts, showered him with praise, and invited him for dinner regularly (providing he took a shower and changed clothes of course.) Until one day Anatoly came late to work. Maxwell tried to figure out what happened. After a long conversation, the answer was revealed. Anatoly was going to school and was studying for his final. He was going to be an Orthodontist. Maxwell thought that was wonderful, but if Anatoly becomes an Orthodontist, who will clean “Les sewers?” So, Maxwell let in more and more Russians to do labor. The Algerians lasted a generation doing horrible jobs, but the Russians only lasted 8-10 years before they became Orthodontists, shop owners, or something else. On a brighter note, they didn’t add fuel to the Muslim Christian riots that were now regularly happening. So, Maxwell worked harder at helping Filipinos come to France. His first round of Filipino immigrants lasted a generation. But, their children all studied night and day. When Maxwell asked the Filipino-French children what they wanted to do for a living, they all answered, “I want to be an Orthodontist or own a flower shop.” That is wonderful — but, once again, for the 200th time, who will clean “Les Sewers?”

2050 — the year of the great persecution
By this time, the Muslim population in France had grown to 80% of the population and the extremists had made it so that Christian residents and other infidels were forbidden from polluting Paris or most of the rest of France with their presence. The Christians were banished to Normandie, or they would face death. Twenty years after that, the Christians were forced into refugee camps on the coast of Normandie. It got to the point where the Christians were forced into futuristic inflatable boats, and eventually were being fired upon by extra-terrestrial looking phaser guns by the extremists. Most of the Christian French died in this persecution. But, not all of them. At last, a boat from heaven came to save the survivors. It was a futuristic levitating boat from Iceland that looked more like a UFO than a boat.

A new chance for the French refugees in Iceland
The great great great great great grandchildren of Stephan the city manager and Jacque DeLonge the lazy French sewer cleaner from the 1800’s were amoung the survivors on the boat. They were so happy to be alive.

SURVIVORS: Thank you so much for saving us from persecution.

ICELANDERS: We are happy to save you.

SURVIVORS: We are so happy to have a chance at a new start in life. But, we have no jobs, so how will we make a living. Is there anything that you might need us to do?

ICELANDERS: If you have experience raising farmed baby sharks, we need a lot of help in that department as we like to eat the meat. It is a Viking tradition. We eat it raw! Oh, and one more thing.

SURVIVORS: Yes? What is that? Anything…

ICELANDERS: We need someone to clean what you in France call, “Les Sewers.”

SURVIVORS: Ha ha ha ha… Gladly. We are just happy not to die. But, the irony is that the whole reason we lost our country is because we let dangerous people become the majority in our country solely so they could relieve us from the task of cleaning our own sewers. And look at us now. We are doing exactly the one thing that we refused to do that got us in so much trouble. So the eighth generation descendant of Jacque DeLonge who was born in Lyon in 1852 was once again doing the job of the caste they had belonged to in France, but in Iceland.

2070: France in Iceland
The French Icelanders by now had found better employment. Many chose to own shops, make croissants, own flower shops, become rap artists, or become orthodontists. Now, the Icelanders had a problem. Nobody to clean “Les Sewers.” The Icelanders wanted to let in some Muslims from France (who were now starving after a huge civil war between Shiites and Sunnis in France that destroyed almost everything) to clean “Les Sewers” but, the descendants of the French all said in unison, “NOOOOOOO!!!!” So, Iceland went with really dirty sewers for ten years until a miracle from God happened. A man from Japan showed up who wanted to get some shark meat sashimi. He wanted to eat it with raw ginger and wasabi sauce like they do in Japan. He tasted it and said, “Wow, it is so fresh — oishee desu ne!” He was pleased with how delicious and tasty the shark was and texted his family back in Tokyo. His family was having trouble with their flying car as the altimeter was off by a few nanometers which caused them to be harrassed by local police. But, they were pleased he liked their shark. Finally, the Icelanders asked him what to do about their problem with the sewers. Mr. Kato scratched his head for a moment, and then reached into his wallet. He handed them a business card from a robotics specialist with both hands and bowed respectfully.

2080 Robots From Japan in Iceland
So, the Icelanders called Zatoichi Robotics in Tokyo. They flew over in one of their newest models of flying cars, or what they called, “Frying caws.” They supplied the Icelanders with lots of robots and a maintenance contract that was to last ten years. The Icelanders were ecstatic and signed immediately. For the first time in human history the problem of the sewers had finally been solved.

2090 A civil war in Iceland.
Then, some very serious problems broke out. The descendants of the French and the Icelanders had never gotten along. They didn’t marry with each other, and they rarely socialized together. There was peace initially since the French were so happy to be alive, but now, the French took their new home for granted. Additionally, the French were having genetic engineered children which the indiginous Icelanders forbade which led to a huge conflict. Since the birthrate of the French descendants was more than of the local population, eventually, the French grew to be 90% of the population. Since the French felt persecuted by the anti-genetic engineering laws and the rigid enforcement of these laws, the French decided to make the Icelanders live in the corner of the island and take the rest for themselves. A few years later, this long standing conflict over genetics led to an all out war, and the French pushed the Icelanders into the sea. Luckily, a boat from France run by moderate Muslims came to save them in a mission of mercy. By now, the extremists had all killed themselves and the survivors of the civil war in France were all very peaceful nice people who practiced charity to the poor as Islam calls for.

2100 The Icelanders take refuge in Islamic France
The Icelanders were very happy to be admitted into Islamic France. They found the religion to be a bit odd, but the Islamic French agreed with them on their most important political view which was that bio-genetic engineering was wrong, or as the Islamic French put it — “Haram!” So, the Icelanders and the Islamic French lived together in harmony. However, the Icelanders had no jobs, and the Muslims didn’t like shark meat which was the local specialty for the Icelanders. So, what were they to do? The Muslims said that they had many jobs that they needed done, but there was one job that they couldn’t find anyone to do no matter how hard they looked. They could not find anyone to clean — “Les Sewers.”

Who will fix “Les Robots”
Meanwhile in Iceland, the descendants of the Christian French were enjoying their conquested land. This was the first time in three-hundred years that French had done anything aggressive. They had robots to clean their sewers and life was good until one day. The robots started breaking down, and the repair people in Tokyo were all young people as the older people were working on other projects. The young people only knew how to fix the newer models of robots. The Christian French had nobody to fix “Les robots!” After several years of dealing with disasters, and French people trying to learn robotic programming, the situation was out of hand. A few French were able to learn this task, but not enough to get the job done. They tried to make a deal with the Japanese. They would offer generous terms if some of the older robotic programmers could live in Iceland and keep those robots running. The price for the robotics programmers was insanely high, and the programmers required the best flying cars, the best apartments, and fresh raw shark meat in large quantities. Since the indiginous Icelanders had left, there was nobody left who knew how to raise farmed baby sharks anymore, so they were in trouble. So, they had to let some of the children of the Icelanders who they kicked out to come back and raise sharks for them so that they could keep the programmers from Japan happy. After many years, the programmers from Japan finally died of old age, and from the toxins in the sharks. The weather in Iceland got much worse, and the Christian French had to find a new place to live that would be inhabitable. Since they had good relations with the Japanese, they were invited to live in a part of Japan.

2110: The French Moved to Japan
The Christian French were happy to have escaped a slow death due freezing weather from global climate change. They were happily living in Japan. They were segregated on a peninsula of an island, but they could live, enjoy their language, their culture, and not freeze to death. The only bad thing is that there were not many jobs. The Japanese had long since back abandoned using robots to clean the sewers because the cost of fixing the breakdowns was cost prohibitive. Everytime they found a good robotics programmer, they would quit after a few years to chase after a more exotic programming job. The sewer cleaning robot programmers lasted only about four years. After this period, they all wanted to program for robots who would work at flower shops or do orthodontic work. The French started laughing, because this was the exact situation they had had with the Filipino immigrants children. None of them wanted to clean the sewers, but they wanted to own flower shops or be an orthodontist leaving nobody to clean the sewers. Although Japan had a very unfair caste system that was horrifying to Westerners (especially the French,) they had no problem finding indiginous humans to do sewer cleaning tasks as they didn’t like relying on immigrants to do anything — hence the reliance on robots. The French, although segregated, were very popular with the Japanese as they ran some of the best restaurants in the entire country. The Japanese for over six hundred years had professional restaurant reviewers and they liked nothing more than high quality French cuisine and some hybrid Japanese-French cuisine as well. But, then, there was a terrible earthquake in Japan. This generation of French once again had to flee the only country they knew. But, where would they go?

2120 Meanwhile in France.
The Muslim French who now had been residing in France for over two hundred years felt bad that their ancestors had been so horrible to these peaceful Christians. The current Muslims in France were very peaceful as the extremists were all killed in their civil war long time ago (as we mentioned before.) So, the ethnic French were readmitted into their country. They went back to the old neighborhoods where their great grandparents once lived and cried. They didn’t even recognize the neighborhoods from the pictures as everything was so modernized and Islamicized. The French said Thank You a million times. There was just one thing. The Muslim French had nobody to clean “Les Sewers.” So, the ethnic French had to do all of the dirty jobs in France for a generation. I guess you could say it was their retribution according to the laws of “Le Karma!” After that, the Muslims started leaving France. Their countries of origin had become prosperous, and besides, the weather was nicer in North Africa. France once again became the exclusive property of the ethnic French who had all returned. But, there was one problem. Nobody wanted to clean — “Les Sewers!”

The French tried to think of all of the possibilities to solve this problem. They could go back to a 1400’s type of a feudal caste system. They could try to teach more robotics in school so that they could fix sewer cleaning robots. They could have immigrants from Fiji come and clean the sewers for a generation until they too became Orthodontists. They finally agreed that there would be a law in France that nobody could attend college until they had done two years of “Sewer duty.” This system worked for a while, until the law was repealed twenty years later by some well meaning liberals who thought that the law was “inhumane”. Once again, the French had nobody to clean, “Les Sewers.”

2140: The Moon People
Finally, another miracle happened. Some French had gone in a spaceship to the moon. They found some creatures who lived underground who had no eyes. Their entire existence was experienced in the dark. They used some psychic means to communicate with these creatures as by now the French were very spiritual and psychic. The creatures said that life on the moon was not so easy. There was not enough gravity, and they wanted a new place to live. There was only one problem though. They couldn’t stand living above ground — and they would work very hard if they could be given a safe home underground with good food. There was only one other requirement. Their employement would need to be exclusively underground. They asked the Frenchman Jacque (who incidentally was the 12th generation descendant of the famous Jacque DeLonge) if he could think of a solution. Jacque said, “You can clean our sewers — that is completely underground!” The moon people were so happy. They got in the spaceship and came to planet earth where they worked every day cleaning “Les sewers.” They were in the news, on the intraplanetary web, and the entire galaxy came to know about this. Unfortunately, these moon people started getting weird diseases that they never got on the moon and died off. Once again France had nobody to clean “Les Sewers.”

2160: provides a solution
Finally, another Jacque, (son of the other Jacque we talked about — yes, this one was the 13th generation descendant of the famous Jacque DeLonge who was so lazy about cleaning the sewers.) came up with a solution. He visited and found sewer cleaning outsourcing services. They would come from India to France, do their job, and go back home on flying saucers they called “Vimanas”. They didn’t have to become citizens and then have their children become rap artists and flower shop owners only to require the French to have another round of immigrants, and so on, and so on. They would do the job, and go back home on a craft called “Pushpaka” to have chapatis. The French loved this. So, for 20 years, France had a solution to their sewer problem thanks to But, eventually, the Indian guys running the service went into spaceship repair and moved to a different planet where the wages were higher. Rahul commented, “These days it is hard to get a good marriage if you are not willing to work on a different planet for a MPC (multi-planetary company.)”

2170 Rejoicing in Muck!
The French all got together for a long discussion. The same type of discussion that they had a generation ago. They needed a permanent solution to their sewer problem that would not lead to them losing their country, or becoming dependent on unreliable robotics professionals. Finally after two months of daily discussion, a man by the name of Jacque (yes, another Jacque) came up with an idea. “The only solution that will last in the long run is that we need to stop being lazy and clean our own sewers. We have seen how laziness has led to us losing our country, being economically enslaved by our commitments to robotics engineers, and relying on which although was pleasant, made us reliant. We need to clean our own sewers and enjoy it.

So, for the next two hundred years, the French learned to rejoice in doing the most unpleasant jobs. They found a sort of fulfillment in it. They molded their culture so that difficult jobs were seen as “Freedom jobs” as doing those sorts of jobs ensured the long term economic and physical safety of France from people from other cultures who had different values, sensibilities, and religions. Finally, the French had figured it out. In fact, this concept of connecting the idea of freedom to cleaning sewers became so popular that everybody wanted to be a hero and clean sewers. There was only one problem. Now, France didn’t have any orthodontists. Nobody wanted to be an orthodontist, because they were all getting degrees in advanced sewer cleaning as that was the new passion of the French.

2180 The Filipinos return to France to be Orthodontists.
So, a few years later, they let 10,000 Filipinos fly over on a vessel called “The Gallactic Pinoy.” The Philippines by 2180 had far one orthodontist for every twenty members of the population. There were too many dentists and not enough teeth. They were so happy to have a home in France where they could eat Halo-Halo every day and enjoy their passion of straightening people’s teeth. But, the children of the Filipino orthodontists, no longer wanted to fix teeth. They too wanted to be heros, and clean sewers.

So endeth the story of Jacque DeLonge, the lazy French man who inadvertantly caused the downfall of France merely because he was too lazy to clean — “Les Sewers!”

The End!

Sell dreams, not services: a Steve Jobs principle

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I cater to those with outsourcing companies throughout the world who want to get customers. As a customer myself, I don’t like salesmen. Obviously, you have to sell your product or service, but if you don’t live up to the promises the salesperson made to you, then people will feel disappointed and stop using your service. To grow your business, great salespeople only go so far. You need a reputation for delivering quality to keep clients and get referrals which is how your business will become big in the long run.

Sell the experience
But, are you just selling services, or selling dreams. If you are in the steak business, do you sell steaks, or do you sell sizzle. The sizzle is the experience you get when you bite into a nicely cooked steak. When you buy a new i-phone, you are not buying a piece of electronics, you are purchasing an experience that will change and enrich your life. What about your company?

What dream are you selling?
Imagine that your outsourcing service is so wonderful, that the customer experience is fantastically pleasant, and that the work done transforms the life of the customer. Imagine that every time the customers call, they get to talk to someone very pleasant who can answer all of their questions and hardly ever puts them on hold. Imagine that work gets done perfectly, on time, every time. Imagine that the bills you give your customers are always reasonable and never a cause for concern. If you have a good salesman you can promise all of these things and help people see the dream, but if you don’t deliver, you’ll be selling a dream, but creating a nightmare.

Most clients are not happy, yet…
Most customers have never had a good experience with any outsourcing company. In my experience, 90% get a D or an F, while only 10% get a passing grade — generally a C. The ones who are any good, or seem like they probably are good (because I couldn’t afford to try them) often price themselves out of the market place so that regular folks like me can’t afford them. Those out of reach companies account for less than 1% of the total. But, imagine giving them some competition.

Selling the dream doesn’t have to be hard
Focusing on the customer experience doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. Just giving them nice people to talk to and quality work on time doesn’t sound so difficult to me. How much extra would it cost you to offer an experience like that and how much extra would clients pay you for such an experience? I wouldn’t try to charge too much extra until your company has grown to at least forty employees. Trying to charge too much in the beginning will stifle your growth rate. In any case, it is more about focusing on the customer experience, even though sales is a part of the picture.

Does sales have to be part of the picture?
What if your work sells itself? Talk is cheap, but results speak for themselves. What if the first time a customer calls you, they have such a wonderful experience that you don’t have to convince them that they will continue to have a wonderful experience? That’s the kind of sales I like. Let your good behavior do the talking instead of your salesperson. Be helpful. Make a difference. Sure, do a little selling too, but focus more on giving results that will brighten your clients’ day, and watch your business grow. You will be doing such a service to humanity just by doing a nice job with a smile! You can’t imagine what a difference it makes!

Your most important skill is figuring out what to do less of

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Do you work as a manager or in marketing? I bet you have tons of people who want to bother you all the time, endless emails, and endless responsibilities. I read a lot of Harvard Business Review, and many of their blog articles suggest that figuring out which tasks can be done by someone else, or just not done at all is the best skill you can have. Of course in real life it is a lot harder than that. If you hire the wrong person, you can get in trouble, plus what if they quit?

But, there are many processes in your work. If there are ways to segment each process and do certain less critical segments less often, you might save some time. Or, you might find a more efficient way of doing the same tasks you are already doing.

What if you get far too many emails every day? There are ways to deal with this. The experts warn against being glued to your email. They suggest going in only once a day, or if you are doing a project, perhaps less than once a day. I have taken this advice to heart, and the problem is that I can easily get two weeks behind on emails and get people mad at me.

But, what if you spend a little time prioritizing your inbox? You could manually or automatedly sort your emails into categories. You can create folders for this. Immediate priorities go in the immediate box. Tasks that you do in bunches go in associated folders such as a “renewal” folder for those paying you for renewals. If you get quick questions from very unimportant people, put those in a folder. Basically, do the critical stuff first. Then, at another time, you can look through the other folders and perhaps just disregard less important emails in those folders.

I run a few directories. I used to put all of the outsourcing applicants on my directory. Now, I put them in a folder. I do an assembly line check to see if their web sites load in eight seconds or less. I delete the applicants that don’t which saves me tons of time. Then, I look to see if they made bad capitalization or grammar mistakes in their application text. I remove the ones with serious errors. I’m dealing with foreigners, so I expect a few errors even from the best applicants. I’ll give people a quick call to see if they pick up and speak clearly. I also see if they answer my questions well. If not, I remove them. The result of this screening work is that I only have to add about 40% of the applicants and save myself hours per month. This also helps my directory to be better quality.

I had a strategy for dealing with listings that were over due to be logged into. I require my customers to login to their listing from time to time. This tells me they are alive and in business. People move all the time, and without logging in, how can I keep track of things? I was paying too much attention to the listings at the bottom of the list which are the worst quality and don’t matter that much. My new strategy saves me tons of time. I keep track of the higher placed listings more. The middle placed listings that are of low quality get removed if they don’t login after 120 days. And the lower ones — I let them collect dust or have someone else less trained call them. The result of my new system is a huge savings in time.

What about you?
I don’t know what your work realities are, but you probably have all types of things you have to do. Try to find new ways of dealing with your tasks where you can save tons of time! Keep trying new things and measuring the results and the total time spent. You will become more valuable on an hourly basis if you learn who not to talk to and what not to do. Remember, being successful means avoiding most people, avoiding most discussions, and saying no most of the time — according to the experts!

I tried using airport hashtags on Twitter, the result was not good

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Using airport hashtags on twitter for travel destinations or businesses near an airport can have its advantages. Airport hashtags are short, which means you can fit more of them on a tweet. You need one space, one hashtag and a three digit airport code, and you are done.

The problem I experienced is that airport hashtags do not pick up fast traffic like more heavily used hashtags. The other problem is that the airport terms pick up a lot of irrelevant traffic as well.

Changi Airport in Singapore is regarded as one of the best airports in the world. You can shower, nap, see a movie, drink wine, enjoy Chinese dumplings, see an indoor lake, and more. But, the hashtag #SIN is very sinful! You’ll get the wrong type of followers. Then Bombay airport is #BOM, that didn’t attract good people either. I tried #KUL which didn’t get me anywhere, but at least didn’t have all of the nonsense tweets using that combination of letters.

It is a little too early to judge if airport hashtags are a good idea to use for travel tweets!
For now, my vote is against them unless you use only one airport tag when blogging about that specific airport!

Maid in Dubai: A sensible solution to a controversial reputation damaging problem

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Dubai is famous worldwide. People love the business climate, the amazing architecture, the sheikh with his passion for life and his Kentucky bred horses. Dubai is a place that just doesn’t quit, and they love trying new and outlandish ideas, especially if those ideas are expensive? So, how do they do it?

Dubai started out as being a desert. Oil money was what got Dubai going. But, they were smart. They didn’t just decide to live off their oil money for the rest of their lives. They decided to invest in all types of other businesses and banking and build an economy like nobody ever dreamed of. Only 6% of their revenue these days is oil based which is good, because their oil is due to dry up in about a decade!

Dubai also is smart about getting labor. While the United States has a wall to keep illegal immigrants out, Dubai welcomes immigrants in, providing they have a job or employment contract. This is a sensible system because it allows Dubai to get lots of inexpensive labor from around the world. In the 1970’s, workers in the Arabian peninsula were mainly Arabs from other countries. After a while, the Arabians began to have a preference for the more docile cultures from the East such as Pakistan and the Philippines in particular. They don’t argue as much with their employers. Additionally, there is no minimum wage that I am aware of in Dubai, so they can get all the labor they need at pennies on the dollar. Why is it that they are so smart, and Americans just don’t get it. I think that America needs to learn from Dubai and have a free economic zone with low taxes, free immigration and no minimum wage! But, I digress!

The problem of hostage workers
Almost anyone can go to the United Arab Emirates if they have a job lined up. This is a great system for having a low unemployment rate. If you lose your job, you leave the country, and you become someone else’s problem. Another smart attribute of Dubai. For middle class folks, this might be an inconvenience, or a heartbreak for a few, but not something that will ruin your life. The Emirates doesn’t dish out citizenship to its endless supply of foreigners. They are temporary, and when they are done there — they leave! That way the locals keep complete control of their country which is once again – smart!

Low wage workers who are often construction workers or maids from Pakistan, Ethiopia, India, and the Philippines for the most part come to Dubai with a work contract as a general rule. Their employer holds their passport which makes it impossible for these workers to leave. Unfortunately, these workers are in a sense held hostage. As an employer myself, I realize that people these days are very flippant and have a very questionable work ethic. It is common for people to quit in the middle of a critical project. If you are not holding anything over their head, they can just leave. Dubai understands this which is why they like to once again have the upper hand by holding the worker’s passport for the duration of the contract. It used to be common for employers to defer part of the worker’s payment as well to make sure they didn’t try to leave. I agree that the employer needs to have the upper hand, but this methodology of holding people as virtual hostages is not ethical regardless of what the law says.

Some of the maids in various Arabian countries are abused or sexually harassed by their employers. It is unclear how many of them are maltreated, but it is enough of them to warrant concern. The problem is that they often don’t have the money to return to their country. If they run away from their contract, they will be put in jail. These maids are virtual hostages. They agreed to these conditions before they came to Arabia because they were desperately poor, but still, there needs to be a better way.

The solution
Rather than withholding part of people’s paychecks without a prior agreement, putting people in jail, or holding people’s passports, there should be a cleaner way to enforce employment contracts and prevent people from quitting prematurely. In regard to the workers who are put in jail (there are only a few hundred of these,) because they can’t afford a plane ticket home.

(1) Return Flight Bonds
It would make more sense if they are prohibited from entering the Emirates unless they post a bond with the local government to cover their return flight. The government could guarantee a return flight at the price of the bond even if the market price went up.

(2) Contracts with 10% withholding clauses
Rather than holding people’s passports, it might make sense that work contracts stipulate that workers will have 10% of their monthly pay deferred until the end of the contract. Sure, they could leave two weeks after their contract began, but they would lose the money on their plane ticket which would be punishment in itself. If they lost 10% of their pay by leaving early, they would at least have a way to make it back home to see a dying relative without losing everything. Additionally, the employer would be reasonably compensated for their loss as well. This seem like a system that is fair to all parties involved.

(3) Worker pools
It doesn’t make sense to hire someone for a job so personal like a domestic helper in your home who you have never met. It seems like a dangerous idea for all parties. It would be easier for all involved if the UAE government created a worker pool. Prospective maids could be flown in from various countries, and the government could provide dormitory lodging for them while they wait for a placement. This solves several problems at once. This system allows the government to test these ladies out to see if they are any good at vacuuming, folding clothes and taking care of screaming babies. Additionally, families who might want to hire these maids could meet them in person and see which maids they liked most rather than hiring someone who they met on web chat. Such a system would negate the necessity for multi-year contracts as well. If a maid was not happy with a family, they could return to the dormitory. And if the family was not happy with the maid, they could fire her on the spot. Contracts could be week by week rather than for two or three years. If a maid quit or got fired, they would go back to the dormitory.

(3a) Who qualifies for the dormitory?
If a maid came to Dubai on a government program, the government could pay the initial airfare as part of the worker pool system. In Dubai, everybody wants to get paid back naturally. The government program could extract a percentage from the family who wanted to hire the maid as payment for the airfare and dormitory expenses. The percentage might be 30% the first several weeks, and then 10% for additional weeks or months, or some other system with an up front fee, and a residual percentage. If a maid was fired or quit, they could return to the dormitory. However, if a maid was in the dormitory more than several weeks, or if they quit or got fired too many times, I think that we all agree that they should be sent back to their country of origin courtesy of the government for being “too much trouble!” I think it would be very nice of the government to provide such a system for their citizens. Part of the agreement should be that if a maid quits or gets fired, they can get an all expense ticket back to their country paid by the government at any time. Yes, this would be expensive for the government, but after all of the residual income they would get from the labor of high quality maids, they would make the money back, and every body would be happy.

I think that it is very clear that my three simple solutions would greatly improve the one area where Dubai’s reputation is in question as well as greatly enhance the satisfaction on both sides of the table in the labor market. Also, on a karmic note, you never want to have a situation where one group of people is severely oppressed. History has many examples of how the oppressed often become the oppressor, or vice versa after several decades or several hundred years. By allowing any type of repression in a country, that sets the stage for karmic retribution. Blacks were enslaved in the US for a very long time. The karmic reversal of this situation is that in 2014, many whites can’t get jobs or get into college because of affirmative action quotas. Now, whites are the ones being discriminated against. Women were subjugated in the US for years. Now, if you are married and get a divorce, your wife can take most of your money and all of your children. The women have much more power now. I’m not sure what the karmic turnaround for Dubai might be, but it might be so hard to find workers in Dubai in 2025 that the workers demand to hold the employer’s passport, otherwise they would just quit and leave the Emeratis high and dry. I’m just joking about that, but in America it is almost impossible to pin down workers and get them to do what they agreed to do. Dubai could karmically end up in exactly that situation several decades from now. So, now is the time to create balance in the universe to prevent any bad karma from accumulating.

I used to be against having troops in Iraq; I changed my mind

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My opinions about war and Iraq keep changing. As I see war from a long term perspective, the realities of war and what it accomplishes are not pretty. The reality is that many people lose their lives, sanity, property, money, become badly injured in wars. America was spending 12 billion a month just to keep a presence in Iraq when there was no major fighting which really adds up over the course of a decade. We don’t have the money. Additionally, I felt (past tense) that we didn’t have an ethical right to be there in the first place. If they want to destroy their country, let them do it — not us, was my line of thought.

The truth of American warfare is that many of the wars we fought were to remove someone evil or some evil agency from power. The problem with this is that every single time we succeeded in getting rid of someone, an even worse organization took over afterwards. The same applies to the Arab countries that had revolutions. They had brutal dictators, overthrew them, and now have militant Islamists in control who are completely unruly and brutal. They were better off with their dictators.

The United States removed Saddam Hussein, the butcher of Baghdad from office. What we were too naive to understand is that most politicians in Iraq and many/most other Arab countries are absolutely ruthless, violent, and have no qualms about administering the use of torture, even to those who don’t merit it. What we didn’t realize at the time was that Saddam held Iraq together at a time when few if any others would have been able to do so.

Iraq is a country with three main social divisions. There are Shiites to the South, Sunnis in the middle (who are the largest group,) and a small minority of Kurds and Christians in the Northern provinces. The United States created an artificial government modeled after our American multi-racial lets all get together and sing Kumbaya style government. Just because we are able to integrate whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians successfully (for now) in America doesn’t mean that they can integrate in Iraq. Although blacks were slaves in American until around 1865, they were never subjected to any large scale massacres, nor did they ever have any large scale persecution of whites or anyone else. Additionally, the United states has had 149 years of attempted integration since slavery. We have been working at this for a long time. Iraqis have been murdering each other on the basis of religion, religious sect, or ethnicity for god knows how long, and perhaps they will need 149 years before they can have a multi-ethnic & multi-sectarian alliance. For now, it seems quite obvious that Iraq needs to be separated into three parts!

The British and the French drew the lines of national borders
Historically, the Arab countries didn’t know the borders they know now. Under the Ottomans, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan were all referred to as Syria and were one province. Before that, there were other empires that divided the land in various ways as well. The current boundaries of Arab countries are very artificial in nature. The colonizers knew that they would need to keep the natives divided, and the easiest way to divide them was based on religion. Lebanon and Syria were conveniently created dividing each into a country with Christians, Druze, Shiites, and Sunnis, not to mention a minority of Jews. These five sects would never be able to get along, hence an uprising would be very difficult. This is how the Europeans were able to control the Arabs for so long! British Palestine was also divided with a high density of Christians and Jews in the greater Jerusalem area (30 mile radius) and mostly Muslims in most of the other areas. In my opinion, the Arabs would function better if their national lines were drawn based on the religion of the people who lived in the area.

The US left military equipment up for grabs
I’m not sure who had the idiotic idea to have a unified puppet state of Iraq and leave them with lots of expensive US military equipment. The problem with this is that if the country falls apart — and it just did, that the equipment “might” fall into the wrong hands which is exactly what happened. If we had divided the country in to three parts, armed the Kurds heavily, armed the Shiites moderately, and left the Sunnis alone, each entity would have a relatively equal chance of surviving. The problem is that there is no commitment on the part of the Iraqis who work for our artificial government that we set up there.

A lack of commitment to do their job
I blame the officials in Iraq for having a lack of commitment to fighting terror. The reality is that the majority in control are Sunni, and Sunnis don’t want to fight other Sunni’s. It just doesn’t work that way. Entities change names over time, and different terror groups come and go. Nations change their boundaries and extremists cross borders on a whim. The only thing that defines Arabs is their sect, and that is the one thing that doesn’t change. In the workforce if you have ever worked with Millennials, you will notice that there is very little commitment as well. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. If their work has meaning and excitement they will work, but the minute the venture loses its luster, then you can expect them to slack off or quit which is sort of what happened with the new Iraqi army. Incidentally, when the US attacked Iraq during the second invasion, many of the members of the Iraqi army just took off their uniform, and walked away in civilian clothing.

I would say that based on what I am seeing in the news, this lack of commitment is not unique to Iraq. It seems that Egypt is the only government that has any commitment to crushing extremism. I also feel that Israel lacks commitment to eliminating terrorists. They feel that extremists will always be there, and that there is nothing they can do about it. But, this is not true. If they would rely less on high technology and risk their young boys to find the bad guys one by one and eliminate them, they could eliminate the bad guys. Israel finds it “easier” to just destroy buildings using their fighter jets rather than find particular bad guys. Sure, it is hard when bad guys hide behind civilians, but it is possible to get them if you are committed and willing to pay the price.

America also is not committed. Our style of warfare is to spend billions of taxpayer money to set up camp, and do lots of bombing campaigns. Like Israel, we destroy a lot of civilian infrastructure, but leave the individuals that we should be targeting alive.

Fight fire with fire
Although the extremists are very few in number, they seem to have the upper hand in many ways for various reasons. They easily cross national borders, while other governments can’t send their troops to particular nations so easily. They can hide unnoticed among civilians while American troops cannot. They also are not afraid to die. But, the biggest advantage they have on us is that they are committed. I have never heard of Al Qaeda deciding to “slow down” for a few years due to budget cuts, have you?

American policy needs to ignore borders as well
If the extremists can cross borders on a whim at a moment’s notice, then why can’t America? American policy is always restricted to attacking particular regions. But, if our target audience moves out of that particular region into a region that we can’t or won’t attack, or need to spend six months having a policy discussion as to whether we should attack. Then the extremists have won the battle. If we attack in Afghanistan and the bad guys stroll over to Pakistan, then they are safe and out of reach. American policy needs to be adapted to target groups, and/or types of groups no matter where they are. Since these groups easily function under the unwatchful eyes of local governments, the U.S. needs to ignore what those host governments say and just do what needs to be done militarily, otherwise we cannot win the war against extremism which could pose deadly dangers to us in the future.

American troops need to be able to hide behind civilians
Extremists are famous for hiding behind civilians. They always seem to have tremendous grass-root support for their operations and always have many places to hide and have unlimited access to human shields. While America had it’s Green Zone in Iraq, the minute our guys ventured out of the secured perimeter, we were victim to roadside bombs, ambushes and other attacks. In other words, we were sort of spinning our wheels having a long camping trip with no ability to eliminate threats within the country. Going back into Iraq and re-setting up our Green Zone won’t accomplish anything. What America needs to do is to learn to fight fire with fire. We need covert operatives who look like the locals, talk like the locals (or at least from someone from a nearby province) and can blend in. We need our guys to be able to hide behind civilians, and take the enemy by surprise. We need spies who can find each of the 10,000 or so enemy fighters and get them one by one. This doesn’t take a lot of money — it takes skill, and a type of skill that we don’t seem to train our soldiers to have.

25 years later
After two and a half decades of war in Iraq, you would think that America would have figured out how to win a war against a hidden enemy. Sure, our enemies are smart, but so aren’t we. We don’t need 200,000 troops to set up a summer camp in Iraq. We only need about 20,000 front-line soldiers who are as fearless of death as our enemies. Most soldiers don’t want to die, but if we could find a few thousand who were as committed and fearless as the extremists, we would have a fighting chance. Those soldiers don’t even need to be American citizens. They could be outsourced Kurdish or Israeli fighters.

If we don’t win this war
America is tired of war, and so am I. I especially don’t like us sticking our noses into other people’s countries. But, with Saddam gone, and people who are ten times as ruthless as he is in charge, we have a monster on our hands which does nothing but attract new fighters from all over the world. This new conflict in Iraq seems to me to be a definitive beginning of World War 3 since it already has fighters from all around the world on the side of ISIS, and could easily attract people from around the world on the side of civilization. ISIS doesn’t just want to control Iraq and Syria. They want to control everywhere from Morocco to Indonesia and reestablish the boundaries of the earlier Caliphates. They want to come to the United States and fly their flag over the White House, and they are smart and determined enough to be able to have a chance of being able to temporarily do that which is why I am increasingly concerned. Winning this war doesn’t mean winning some battle in some GPS coordinate in Iraq. It means finding each and every ISIS fighter or other extremist and removing them. That means either killing them or putting them on an island somewhere with lots of coconuts. America needs to wake up and realize that a serious unprecedented crisis is on our hands, and this problem won’t go away unless we learn how to fight in creative new ways that will eliminate this new threat.

I personally feel that the U.S. lacks the commitment to successfully overthrow extremists. I feel that the power of extremists will continue to grow in unpredictable ways. The danger can very easily grow out of control and I shudder to think of what could happen. I am deeply concerned, but there is not a whole lot that I can do. Maybe the Republicans will find an ugly and expensive way to solve this problem. We’ll wait and see.

(1) Al Qaeda has decided to “slow down” for several years due to budget cuts
(2) 3 reasons extremists have the upper hand over the U.S.
Ability to cross borders, hiding behind civilians, willingness to die & commitment.

The Rupee Mentality

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I used to watch every penny
When I was younger and poorer, I used to watch every penny. People would make condescending remarks about my frugality. But, what could I do? I had to conserve the little that I had. As I grew older, my appetite for spending grew. I realized that I would have to make more money — a lot more money. So, I worked and worked and worked. I kept finding better ways to get ahead and succeed. Success is a difficult path. It is like forging your way up a steep mountain with many snakes, mountain lions, enemies, disloyal friends, pitfalls, and no marked trail. In any case, I started doing a lot better financially about ten years ago. I am still struggling to get ahead though.

I started being a big spender
A few years after my income picked up, I started wanting to experience the joys of life that I could never dream of before. I sampled fine wines. I ate great steaks. I even engaged in rum tasting. My cholesterol went through the roof, and my liver started complaining tremendously. I had to cut back. But, I had become a big spender. At least I was no longer frugal.

My five trips to India
A strange phenomenon took over me whenever I went to India. I developed what I call, “the rupee mentality.” I watched every rupee, and was very conscious of who was trying to cheat me out of a rupee. I took the train instead of a plane to save one or two thousand rupees. Why did I care? In American money it was pennies that I was concerning myself over. On a brighter note, whenever I came back from India I had lots of savings because my business was making money, but my bills for lunch and dinner were only a few dollars going to the best restaurants in my part of town! I got my web programming done for pennies too.

Fighting over 35 cents
The worst part of my rupee mentality was dealing with rick shaw guys. They always try to cheat you at a train station by asking for triple or quadruple what a fair should cost. From the train station to Dekkan in Pune costs about 60 rupees, but they were asking for 200 or 300. I told one guy 100, so he could rip me off a bit, but he kept bargaining with me all the way to my hotel for 120. I told him 100 fixed. These guys are desperate for whiskey money, so they’ll do anything for a fix. I now see why one of my friends always takes cabs and won’t get in a rick shaw unless she has to. It is a hassle dealing with these crooked and rude characters, not to mention dangerous being in such an unstable tiny vehicle. If a truck hits you, you’re done! But, why did I care about 20 rupees extra. It was only about 35 cents in the USA. The minute I’m back on American soil, I never think about such small amounts of money.

What is it with me. Why do I think big in America, and small in India? Am I picking up on India’s national attitude about money which is watching each fraction of a rupee no matter how rich or poor you are? Wherever you go, you pick up on the consciousness. Maybe this is what happened!

Twitter Analytics; For every 1000 I follow, I get 3 clicks to my site

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Ladies and Gentlemen — this might not sound like much, but if I follow 1000 relevant people on Twitter, I get 3 clicks to my site. Since I do a lot of following and do it very quickly, I get many clicks to my site every month from my addiction to following and unfollowing people. What you need to remember is that a click to your site from Twitter can become a regular follower. You might get a lot more blog visits, and you might get retweets on a regular basis. It is difficult to assess the value of a single click, but a click that turns into a repeat visitor is very valuable to me. I have noticed that clicks from Twitter tend to result in a lot of reading and thus could be deemed “quality clicks.” A blog click can be judged by how many minutes they stayed on your blog and how many pages they viewed. But, a click to your site from Twitter is a little different. Since I don’t know how to assess such a click, I often just meditate on it and the answer comes to me.

But, putting aside the value of these clicks, that is another side effect of following people on Twitter that adds value to the time you put into it. Not only do you get more followers and a base for retweets, but you also get visits to your site which will make you popular on Google!

Do you have: “Damn It, Damn It, Damn It” moments in business?

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I think we have all had plenty of damn it moments in our businesses. The key is to understand how they happen, and how to prevent them. What is the root of a damn it moment?

When you are relying on someone and they quit, don’t follow instructions, or keep you waiting — then you have one of these unpleasant moments. The key here is to avoid giving large responsibilities to people you are not sure about in the first place.

Do you hire people who quit?
Do you see the warning signs? I do. They stop getting back to you. They stop being available to talk to you. They don’t do all of their work tasks anymore and only give you their 70%, or in one guys case 20%. People who start off being dedicated and disciplined slack off too in the several months before they quit. As an employer you need to be watching for this like a vulture. If you have a way for your employees to invest in their work and their performance rather than just getting a fixed wage, you might have less quitting going on. How do you get this investing to happen? You could offer a deferred bonus if your hiree doesn’t quit, and doesn’t slack off on their work. They get the bonus a year later (perhaps.) Or you can pay employees for achieving certain goals. If they fall short of the goal at the time they quit, they lose out on a huge bonus. If the contract with your client is reflected in the contract you have with your worker, they might be more helpful to you achieving your goals.

Do you not have proper backup?
People quit all the time, particularly young people. If you don’t have backup or good back up you are sure to have a head banging session after your star employee leaves. A backup is not a backup if they are not tried and tested. You need to really use lots of people to determine who is the best, who is the most yelpful, loyal, or easy to reach. If you are not sure about the reliability of someone in a particular task, it might be better to have three part time people rather than one full time person. You can fire them if they slack off, and if they quit, you already have redundant back up.

Not following instructions?
You really need to test people for following instructions before you hire them, and watch for this early in their employment. Many people just don’t follow instructions and you really cannot put such people on critical tasks unless you are watching them at every minute.

Ability to learn?
As an additional note — if your company needs people who are good at multitasking, their ability to learn is much more important than their current level of skill. If they stick with your company, the fast learners will be pros after a few months while the experienced people who are slow learners will continue being the way they were whe you hired them

Be a vulture
Keep your eye out as a manager. Become a specialist at seeing the signs and watching for them. If someone loses interest, stops communicating, it is time to get your backups reved up as you might need to fire someone fast. Timing is everything when you work with millenials because they lose interest so fast, their replacement needs to be ready for action at a moment’s notice!