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Thursday, January 23, 2014

An Open Letter From Bill Gates

Melinda and I published our latest Annual Letter this week. It’s a bit of a departure for us. Unlike the past five letters, this one isn’t about the foundation’s work. Instead, we decided to take on some of the myths — about poverty, overpopulation and foreign aid — that are blocking progress for the poor.
For example, many people think development aid is a large part of rich countries’ budgets, which would mean a lot can be saved by cutting back on it. When pollsters ask Americans what share of the budget goes to aid, the average response is 25%. When asked how much the government should spend, people tend to say 10%.
For the United States, the actual number is less than 1%.
One percent of the U.S. budget is about $30 billion per year. Of that, roughly $11 billion is spent on health: vaccines, bed nets, family planning, drugs to keep people with HIV alive, and so on. (The other $19 billion goes to things like building schools, roads and irrigation systems.)

I don’t want to imply that $11 billion per year isn’t a lot of money. But to put it in perspective, it’s about $30 for every American.Imagine your income tax form asked, “Can we use $30 of the taxes you’re already paying to protect 120 children from measles?” Would you check yes or no?
It also helps to look at the overall impact this spending has. To get a rough figure, I added up all the money donors have spent on health-related aid since 1980. Then I divided by the number of children’s deaths that have been prevented in that same time. It comes to less than $5,000 per child saved (and that doesn’t include the improvements in health that go beyond saving the lives of young children).
Five thousand dollars may sound expensive, but keep in mind that U.S. government agencies typically value the life of an American at several million dollars.
Also remember that healthy children do more than merely survive; they go to school and eventually work, and over time they make their countries more self-sufficient. This is why I say aid is such a bargain.

The U.S. government spends more than twice as much on farm subsidies as on health aid. It spends more than 60 times as much on the military. The next time someone tells you we can trim the budget by cutting aid, I hope you will ask whether it will come at the cost of more people dying.

Our Annual Letter addresses some other myths Melinda and I hear a lot, such as, “Aren’t poor countries doomed to stay poor?” “Foreign aid is just a big waste.” And “If fewer poor children die, it will lead to overpopulation.”
These mistaken beliefs block progress for the poor. So, the next time you hear one of these myths, we hope you’ll explain the facts.

Source by:
Bill Gates is an inventor and philanthropist.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Web Marketing and Social Media Marketing Trends in 2014

1. Mobile Is About To Go Mainstream

Every website needs to be optimized for mobile. This means having responsive design and thinking about how people interact with your business via mobile devices should be one of your top priorities. As a small business it's time to make the switch to a mobile site if you haven't yet, and think about ways that you can get in front of your customers through their phone. Yes, this include Mobile Apps, SMS, and emails that are designed to be viewed on your cellular phone.

2. Niche Sites Will Make An Impact
As Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus make it harder to get found organically, niche sites are going to prove to be more valuable than ever to get in front of your customers. Not only are niche sites highly targeted, they can also provide a much more affordable solution for advertising.

3. Blogging Will Remain The #1 Way To Generate New Business
Creating great content on a regular basis and driving traffic back to your site is going to remain the number #1 way to generate new leads. This means as a small business, if you don't have a blog yet, it's time to start one. Let us handle it for you. We're the pros. :)

4. Spammy Content Will Be Eliminated Everywhere
We've seen it happen on Google and now it's happening on Facebook. Spammy content is not going to get you anywhere, and the big sites are cracking down. Think about creating valuable content that resonates with your customers.

5. Google Plus Will Grow Faster Than Ever
G+ is my new favorite social network. With the search benefits from Google and the increased user base, it's likely that your audience will be making the move from Facebook to G+. Being a step ahead of the game is a good idea. Plus, they are about to launch promoted posts (+Post ads) that will get your content to a larger audience than ever before. Get on Google Plus as soon as possible.

6. Triggered Emails Will Increase Sales
Consumers are looking to connect with brands and by providing custom content for them based on their behavior is going to help you increase your sales. We love Infusionsoft, and you should too.

7. Ambassadors And Influencers Will Hold The Power
Influencer marketing and word-of-mouth marketing is going to be one of the most powerful ways to get in front of customers in a new way. By empowering your best customers to spread the word for you, you can gain trust in a new audience and hopefully turn them into new customers.

8. Image-Centric Sites Will Continue To Rise
Instagram, Pinterest and probably many more sites will come about in 2014 that are based around images. While text is not dead, you need to think of ways to incorporate images into your strategy that compliment your written context.

9. Video Consumption Will Increase
Whether it's an educational video or an ad, consumers will look to video content to learn about businesses. Video will continue to create meaningful relationships between business and consumer. Think video customer service here. Oh, and many times they will be watching video on their mobile phone. You know what that means. :) SEE #1 above.

10. Sharing Will Be More Important Than Ever
Social media sharing will be get ramped up and everyone and their mother will be doing it. While this is a good thing for getting your content shared, it also presents challenges to get found. The key here is to communicate to your customer directly and relevantly and you'll be found.  Plus, it's going to help your search rankings.

11. Marketing Will Be About Adding Value
It's no longer about pushing yourself out there, it's about how you provide value to your customer that matters. Whether this is through blogging, video, or email marketing, in order for people to stay engaged, they have to perceive value.

2014 is going to be an exciting year. Be sure to stay on top of as many of these exciting Social Media trends and Online Marketing trends as you possibly can.

Source: socialmediatoday

Friday, January 3, 2014

Google Glass Developers Strive for Hit Apps

When Google first introduced Glass over a year and a half ago, one question loomed: what kind of apps could make it worth wearing a head-mounted computer everywhere you go?

There's still no good answer for that, in part because Glass is still not publicly available; it is expected to be released sometime this year. However, a select group of developers have had Glass in their hands (and on their heads) for months, and the apps they're developing hint at what they think will make Glass — and other head-worn computers — a mainstream hit.

Some of these apps seek to make technology less distracting (for the wearer, at least, since Glass is hard to ignore on someone's face). Others focus on activities that may be better suited for a computer on your face than a smartphone or a laptop.

Satish Sampath and Kenny Stoltz have created an app called Moment Camera that takes advantage of Glass's five-megapixel camera. The app takes pictures every few seconds when it detects the presence of faces. It uses Glass's accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass to figure out the most opportune time to snap a shot, and later uploads the photos to a remote server and sort outs the ones it believes are the best. "Glass has this sort of built-in awareness that a phone that's in your pocket or sitting face-down on a table doesn't have," Stoltz says.

The benefit is that people would not have to stop what they are doing to take pictures themselves, Stoltz says: "We want to give people back attention."

A similar idea motivates Georgia Tech professor Thad Starner, who is the technical lead on Glass for Google, as he develops an app called Captioning on Glass. It will transcribe the words that someone speaks into a smartphone onto the Glass display of someone with impaired hearing. "By having a head-up display, the wearer can stay 'in the flow' of the conversation, attending the other person's face to get as much information as possible while speeding the natural conversation," he wrote recently for Wired.

While many apps are being newly built for Glass, a number of developers see Glass as an even better way to present apps they previously developed for smartphones, chiefly because its display — equivalent to a 25-inch high-definition display seen from eight feet away — is hands-free and can be ever-present.