Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work

In a top-20 TED Talk video below, Shawn Achor quickly entertains and informs his audience while discussing his research on positive psychology, and teaches you how to reverse your definition of happiness. If you can’t follow Shawn as fast as he speaks, or are not able to view the video below, a full transcript can be found underneath.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT: When I was seven years old and my sister was just five years old, we were playing on top of a bunk bed. I was two years older than my sister at the time — I mean, I’m two years older than her now — but at the time it meant she had to do everything that I wanted to do, and I wanted to play war. So we were up on top of our bunk beds. And on one side of the bunk bed, I had put out all of my G.I. Joe soldiers and weaponry. And on the other side were all my sister’s My Little Ponies ready for a cavalry charge.

There are differing accounts of what actually happened that afternoon, but since my sister is not here with us today, let me tell you the true story — (Laughter) — which is my sister’s a little bit on the clumsy side. Somehow, without any help or push from her older brother at all, suddenly Amy disappeared off of the top of the bunk bed and landed with this crash on the floor. Now I nervously peered over the side of the bed to see what had befallen my fallen sister and saw that she had landed painfully on her hands and knees on all fours on the ground. Continue reading

OS X Mavericks

New, quietly-released dictation feature in Mavericks

If you’ve already downloaded OS X 10.9 for your Mac, you are probably well aware of the key new features in Mavericks such as the all new Maps and iBooks apps, Safari 7.0, Finder Tabs, enhanced notifications and more. However, one feature (of hundreds, surely) that was not mentioned in the Special October Event from Apple on September 22, 2013, is the new dictation feature quietly bundled into the new OS. Continue reading


The first tech/internet giant to go

Will Apple collapse? Will Google become obsolete? Will the corporate world ever divert from Microsoft Office or teens and twenty-somethings ever divert from Xbox? Right now it doesn’t seem so. But nothing lasts forever. Right?

Of the top tech companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and so on), it’s hard to imagine a world without any one of them. Each has an incredible user base, is worldwide in use, and is (or is on it’s way to being) a publicly traded company.

Of the top five giants I’ve mentioned, and I know I’m missing some other big players, I can say with a great deal of (non-researched guesswork and) certainty that Facebook will be the first to go. Here’s why: Continue reading


Bizarre Marketing: What are Google and Samsung Doing?

What’s going on in the tech world this week? I can’t really say… a lot of strange marketing, to say the least. Google has decided they’re going to name their next treat-themed mobile operating system release “KitKat”, and Samsung announced a new smart watch but their website hasn’t yet reflected the big news (as of this writing). Plus, Samsung revealed their device during a very long and strange presentation fit with a music performance and other longer-than-necessary product reveals and discussions.

Back to Google – I’ve never understood why they thought that naming their mobile OS after sugary treats would be a good idea. Froyo? Ice Cream Sandwich? Jelly Bean? But here we are, arriving alphabetically at the letter ‘K’, and the multi-billion dollar company chooses “KitKat”.

“And someone said, ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?'”

John Lagerling, Google’s Director of Android Global Partnerships, may help us understand the reasoning behind the name. Lagerling says that “One of the snacks [at Google] that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said, ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?'” So there it is, they were eating KitKats, so their next mobile OS is named the same thing.

From a marketing perspective the naming doesn’t make sense, but neither do any of their other mobile OS release names. However, now that they have a partnership with KitKat (one of my favorite candy bars), who knows what will happen. Maybe it will flop like other similar tech marketing campaigns have in the past.

Looking at Samsung now, they are just way off the mark on marketing altogether. No same-day website update, no elegant presentation, and it turns out they’re continuing to make their phones BIGGER. They are also introducing a line of pants with pockets large enough to fit their new phones in.

What surprised me most about Samsung was their ‘big presentation’. It was dry, the co-CEO a bit hard to understand, and just lacked the precision, tension, and energy that an Apple presentation always has. I’m sure Samsung will ship plenty of products, but I have yet to buy into a company that just makes things.

In other (more normal) marketing news, Apple quietly sent out press and media invitations detailing an event on Tuesday, September 10 that “should brighten everyone’s day.”


Ten Principles of Good Design

I won’t try and convince you that I came up with these ten principles of good design, but I absolutely agree with all of them. Jony Ive’s team at Apple is purportedly only one of a few companies that lives and breathes by these ten principles, and the principles are evident in all of the design elements that make up Apple’s products, services, and branding.

Dieter Rams, a German industrial designer known for Braun consumer products, is credited with the development of the following ten principles of good design:

Good design is…

  1. Innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. Aesthetic
  4. Makes a product understandable
  5. Unobtrusive
  6. Honest
  7. Long-lasting
  8. Thorough down to the last detail
  9. Environmentally friendly
  10. As little design as possible

Rams’ principles align well with my belief of what good design is. Perhaps that’s why I love what Apple has achieved when it comes to design, or perhaps because I love Apple’s design work I’ve come to appreciate the same design principles.

Whatever the case, tell me how Apple falls short on just one of those principles when it comes to design and you’ll have my full attention.


The 3 Prerequisites to Make Money Blogging

It’s easy to set up a blog. You can do it in less than five minutes. What you can’t do so quickly is earn money with your blog. That takes three things: dedication, value, and time. Don’t try to take a shortcut – there’s no guaranteed fast track to blogging success.

Dedication. Dedication means committing to a task or purpose. In other words, KEEP BLOGGING. No ordinary person has become successful overnight through blogging. Those that became or will become successful spend hours, days, weeks, months, and years writing content for their blog. Don’t listen to anyone that says you can fast-track your success via blogging.

“In other words, KEEP BLOGGING.”

It’s important to stay dedicated because if you aren’t dedicated to your blog and your topic(s), neither will your audience. Sitting down and writing a blog post every week (or even every day) proves that you’ve got plenty to say and will greatly improve the odds that people will keep coming back.

Value. I wouldn’t buy something if I didn’t find value in it – and neither would you. Whether the product or service I purchase increases my productivity, happiness, finances, or whatever, it must deliver value. In the same way, your blog must bring value to your audience. If you simply regurgitate content from some other source or quickly throw together some words on a page then you aren’t delivering something of value.

Some things that define value in the world of blogging are original content, content that can improve someone else’s life or wellbeing, and content that provides new knowledge or information.

Time. Time is the final (and often overlooked) key ingredient to lead the way to making money through blogging. As I said, success doesn’t happen overnight. Your audience, Google’s web indexing bots, and cash won’t come flooding in. Be patient, stay motivated, and don’t spend too much time looking at your site’s analytics. Growth is (usually) slow and steady until you reach your tipping point.

Once you’ve proven you are dedicated to your blog, you consistently provide value to your audience, and your blog has patiently grown from a small 50-word site to an archive of information, you’ll be one giant leap closer to generating an income from your blog. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to success other than to meet the three requirements above before you make a sizable amount of money through blogging.