Unriddled: Apple's Latest MacBook, Another Facebook Data Loophole, and More Tech News You Need

Welcome one, welcome all to another Wednesday: the day that marks the halfway point — almost — to the weekend.

As we find ourselves halfway through July and grasping tightly to the weeks of summer that remain, we know you don’t have a ton of time to devour news. So, in keeping with tradition — we’ll keep this week’s “Unriddled” quick.

It’s our Wednesday tech news roundup, and we’re breaking it down.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Apple Releases a New Macbook Pro

Apple announced last week the latest release in its MacBook Pro lineup, calling it “the most advanced Mac notebook ever.” Among its news features, the company says, are faster computing, an improved Retina display, and the ability to prompt Apple’s voice assistant with verbal “Hey Siri” commands — and, according to some early users, a quieter keyboard. But there may be more beneath that (hushed) surface, with rumors floating that the subdued typing volume is actually a way of masking the manufacturer’s known keyboard reliability issues. Dieter Bohn of The Verge shares more first impressions. Read full story >>

2. Facebook Privacy Loophole Discovered in “Closed” Groups

CNBC reported last week that Facebook has closed a loophole that allowed the identities of members of closed, private groups on the platform to be scraped with the use of a Chrome browser plug-in. The issue was discovered when the moderator of a closed group came upon the Grouply.io browser extension, which allows third parties (like marketers) to harvest private member information like names, employers, and locations, among others. A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that the extension has been shut down. Read full story >>

3. Uber Steps Up Its Background Checks

Uber is reinforcing its efforts around safety, telling Axios that it will now conduct ongoing background checks on drivers, rather than performing them on a one-time occasion. Partnering with background check provider Checkr and safety data company Appriss, this move is the latest of Uber’s efforts, largely under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, to improve the company’s reputation, especially when it comes to rider safety. The announcement of these efforts was shortly followed by reports that the company is under investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for gender inequity. Read full story >>

4. The Tech Giants Go to Washington (Again)

Policy representatives from Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in a hearing on social media filtering practices — the second one to take place this year. All three were facing allegations that they filter or suppress conservative content — but little of that particular topic was actually discussed during the hearing. Tony Romm of The Washington Post has more. Read full story >>

5. Twitter Follower Counts Drop

Following the previous week’s report that Twitter has been conducting sweeping account suspensions, the company announced last week that it would delete locked accounts from total user follower counts, causing many of them to drop. Read full story >>

6. The Genius Marketing of HQ Trivia

In the world of tech, it’s hard to go too long without hearing a reference to the HQ Trivia app. But what’s all the hype about — and what can we learn from its success? Read full story >>

That’s all for today. Until next week, feel free to weigh in on Twitter to ask us your tech news questions, or to let us know what kind of events and topics you’d like us to cover.


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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing and Business Books

My parents, teachers, and coaches all instilled in me the importance of reading. Fiction or non-fiction, self-improvement or fantasy, reading supposedly makes us all smarter … right?

Reading promotes creativity, gives us refuge from the real world, provides us with knowledge about any topic we want to know more about, makes us better writers, and inspires us. 

It just so happens that some of the most powerful business magnates in the world are also avid readers.

Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates are all self-proclaimed bookworms who attribute their success to reading.

Even billionaire Warren Buffett is said to read about 500 pages per day.

If some of the most successful people in the world credit their success to something as simple as reading, then why wouldn’t you give it a try?

Whether or not you aspire to become a billionaire, there are thousands of business and marketing books to help propel you towards your career goals. These books may just provide you with the inspiration you need to make your next — big or small — career move.

Business Classics and Fundamentals

These books provide an overview of broad business topics and give context for the way business is done today.

Business Adventures by John Brooks

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Businesses need the right people on their team to successfully plan, implement, and carry out short- and long-term goals. The way team members and leaders react in both times of success and hardship will make or break their companies. 

Circling back to the influential billionaires I mentioned above, Bill Gates calls Business Adventures — which was a gift from Warren Buffet — one of the best business books he has ever read. 

The book tells the crisis and triumph of several prominent companies, including Ford Motor Company’s Edsel disaster, the rise of Xerox, and the GE and Texas Gulf Sulphur scandals. Brooks also details the stock market crash in 1962 and the chaos that ensued on Wall Street. 

Business Adventures is a must-read for anyone who is currently running, or aspires to run, a resilient business.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

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If you’re looking for a lighter read that provides applicable information on how to be a successful boss and colleague, then this New York Times Bestseller is for you. Scott uses her own experiences at Google, Apple, and other tech companies to provide examples of how to be a respected leader and encourage others to do their best work. 

Radical Candor shows readers how to build strong relationships in a work environment, create a culture of feedback, shape a connected team, and achieve goals everyone can be excited about. Scott is engaging, humorous, and provides readers with entertaining illustrations throughout the book. 

Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart

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Ever hear that saying, “Money and power corruptâ€�? That’s what happened in the 1980’s when a group of elite Wall Street financiers were involved in one of the biggest insider-trading scandals in history. Stewart recounts the damage done and the punishments the criminals received after nearly destroying Wall Street. 

This book is a great option if you’re looking to read something informational but with some added drama and excitement. Den of Thieves is not a typical “how to� business narrative about ways to stay in control of your finances. It’s a real story about the dangers of greed and arrogance in business.

Pivot by Jenny Blake

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Today, our careers are longer and a lot less predictable than they once were. Most people realize they won’t be doing the exact same type of work throughout their career. Additionally, many companies strive to help their employees find their career path even if it leads them elsewhere. 

Blake’s book helps readers arrive at the answer to the often complicated question, “What’s next in my career?� She describes her own career “pivot� and explains the importance of being adaptable, flexible, and patient when moving into a new role or company. Whether or not you know exactly what you want to do in the future, Pivot will teach you how to be smart about your next move.

Check out this blog to learn about another classic business read.

Management

CEOs, directors, managers, and even employees just beginning their careers can use these books to learn how to become strong and respected leaders in the workplace. 

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

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Christensen drives his point home about the importance of strong leadership by citing some of the most successful CEOs and managers in history — such as Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. He argues that no matter what resources a company has, chances are it’s going to be hard to achieve business goals without the right people leading.

The Innovator’s Dilemma brings to light the issues that come with ever-changing technology and the impact it has on the leaders who cannot accept or keep up with these developments. 

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra

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Successful CEOs, directors, managers, and leaders aspire to be respected, liked, and impactful among other things. The issue is finding the balance between being a skillful leader that supports colleagues and employees and being able to complete their day-to-day work.

Ibarra draws on her own experience and explains how managers of all levels can make small changes to become successful, adaptable leaders. Most importantly, she teaches the reader to “think before you act.� This will allow you to create what she calls “outsight,� which is perspective gained from our own experiences. Ibarra will help you become a stronger leader through self-assessment and by creating a plan of action to learn through doing.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

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There are plenty of companies out there that are considered successful. They may have good investors, a solid group of promoters who love their brand and make enough money to sustain their existence. But what about the companies that are really killing it? Raking in the cash and growing exponentially in all forms? How did they get to where they are? How did they go from good to great?

This is the question that kept Jim Collins up at night. So he created an experiment — that lasted five years — to find out the common characteristics of 28 successful companies that made that leap from good to great. 

I won’t tell you his exact findings … that’s for you to find out on your own. But I will share something Collin’s said at the end of his experiment: “The key concepts discerned in the study fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.â€� 

The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser

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OK, ladies — this one’s for you. 

Hauser realized two things prior to writing this book: 1. There are few books available for women in business that detail the badass accomplishments other women are making on a daily basis, especially in positions that are stereotypically male-driven, and 2. There is a lot of misguided information about professional women that says, “if you want to be a female powerhouse in business, you have to be mean.â€� 

Enter: Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada.

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And if you’re not mean, you must be a weak pushover … right? Not anymore!

Hauser teaches women that they don’t need to sacrifice their values, hide their real personalities, or be mean to become an impactful leader. She refers to her own experiences working in high-level leadership positions at major companies — such as Coca-Cola, Time Inc., and Moviefone — to explain these points.

The book gives readers real examples of Hauser and other successful businesswomen using kindness and authenticity to achieve greatness. Intelligent, driven, professional women of all ages will find this book refreshing and uplifting.

Finance and Investing

Managing your money doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. There are thousands of books that can help you learn to make better financial decisions no matter where you are in your career or financial journey. Here are a few to get you started.

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel by Benjamin Graham

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The Intelligent Investor, also known as the “stock market bible,� is considered a classic in the finance and investing field. It was published in 1949 and original copies can be found on used book sites for upwards of $1,500 a piece.

If you’ve heard of a technique called “value investing,� then you already know something about Graham’s book. The strategy encourages investors to create long-term plans to shelter them from significant error or damage.

The book has been updated since its original date of publication to keep it relevant for those picking up their first copy in the 21st century. Now, there is plenty of information on today’s markets that readers can mix with Graham’s classic lessons to stay on top of their finances and better understand the market.

Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom by Marianna Olszewski

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Olszewski makes lessons about personal finance more interesting and fun by describing her own journey to financial security. Although this book is tailored towards the female reader, men and women can both learn something from savvy strategies that she and other powerful women mention — including designer Diane Von Furstenberg and Congressman Marsha Blackburn — used to reach financial success.

There are three main goals mentioned throughout the book for readers to focus on: 1. Say yes to yourself. 2. Fall in love with your money. 3. Act as if. This is a light read that gives readers applicable advice on how to achieve financial independence paired with relatable experiences to help them through the process.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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An international bestseller and the winner of more than five notable awards, Thinking Fast and Slow takes a hard look at two ways that humans think, which he calls systems. According to the author, system 1 is “fast, emotional, and intuitive.â€� System 2 is a bit slower, more deliberate, and logical. By understanding these systems, Kahneman tells readers about the ways we can take information and use it to shape our personal and work-related decisions. 

There are certain aspects of the two systems that should be focused on or avoided based on the environment and situation. Thinking Fast and Slow takes you through practical techniques that will help you uncover best practices in all situations.

Afterall, how are we supposed to successfully lead and help the people around us if we cannot first understand ourselves and the way we think?

Creativity

Everyone has a level of creativity — it’s just a matter of learning how to harness and apply yours. These books will teach you how to unlock and leverage your creativity in all aspects of your life.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

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Grant’s book is all about taking the road less traveled. How can you improve the world around you and become the most successful version of yourself by going against the grain and trying something new? He also asks the question: “Can you really create and implement new ideas and policies regularly without risking your career, reputation, and more?�

Grant’s answer is “yes.�

His ideas about how to take a new idea, find people to support you, and implement your plan in a successful way are all backed by studies, experiments, and real stories. He even tells parents and teachers how they can work with children on ways to apply this method.

Originals reminds us all that being “differentâ€� can be scary at times, but pushing the status quo can also be what propels us towards our greatest successes. 

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

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When I was applying to jobs out of school, I noticed how many descriptions said something along the lines of “creative-thinker required,� or “must be able to think outside of the box.� But these were such arbitrary ideas. And frankly, “think outside of the box� is such a cliché term without real meaning.

Author John Leher helps the reader define creativity. He asks deeper level, thought-provoking questions about how both imagination and epiphanies are measured. The book provides readers with ideas about how to apply creative strategy to any task.

My favorite point the book makes is that everyone possesses creativity. It’s a way of thinking, not a gene we are born with, or even a skill that we acquire. Some of us just need help uncovering and applying our creativity, which is exactly what Imagine will help you accomplish.

The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World by Nilofer Merchant

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Merchant tells readers to stop making excuses about not being able to make a mark on the world. Yes, there is a seat at the table for you.

Thanks to innovation and technology, we all have the ability to mobilize new ideas almost instantly. The issue is that plenty of people push those thoughts to the side, or convince themselves that they are incapable of being successful at them.

The Power of Onlyness explains why this is a false notion and gives readers information on how to get their ideas rolling. Anyone can make a difference. The question is whether or not you’re willing to take that first step toward achieving your goal.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

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Remember when Kylie Jenner decided she was no longer a fan of Snapchat? This information spread like wildfire, and Snapchat’s stock lost over $1 billion in one day? All because Kylie’s fans care about her opinion oh so much.

 That’s the tipping point — when a trend, idea, or behavior builds to a certain point until it essentially “tipsâ€� or causes a big change. 

Businesses need to account for this phenomenon by buffering their sales and marketing tactics to avoid major disruption. Gladwell gives readers tactical ideas on how to buffer their businesses to avoid hitting a detrimental tipping point.

Biographies and Memoirs

Sometimes we just need a little bit of inspiration. These biographies and memoirs recount the lives of some of the most successful businessmen and women and how they reached their greatest achievements.

Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion by Lisa Price

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Price’s rags to riches memoir is an inspiring tale of a woman who was nearly bankrupt, took a leap of faith by starting her own business, and began grossing more than $2 million per year. 

As a child, Lisa loved fragrances and beauty products. When she hit her all-time low and only had $100 to her name, she realized that her love for these products could be her way out of debt. She created her own line of all-natural bath and beauty products that ultimately made her successful. But, more importantly, Price was successful because she loved what she was doing and was good at it. 

This is an inspiring and uplifting story about a woman who took action and changed her life forever — all from her home in Brooklyn. In her memoir, Price tells readers how difficult times do not define us, but rather it’s how we handle those times.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

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Nike is an internationally recognized brand, but would you recognize Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, if he was walking down the street? 

He’s known as a shy man who isn’t necessarily a fan of the spotlight. The level of mystery behind the creator of the brand may be the reason Knight’s memoir became a New York Times Bestseller so quickly. 

The book details Knight’s beginnings as an entrepreneur when he set out with only $50 to try and import inexpensive, high-quality running shoes from Japan. He sold the shoes out of the trunk of his car while trying to kickstart his brand.

The book reminds readers of the ups and downs that come with starting and growing a business. There are people who will doubt you and try to sabotage you, and there are roadblocks that will make you wonder if it’s even worth trying to grow your company. But there are also times of triumph when you overcome your competitors and see the fruits of your labor. Knight’s memoir shows readers why it’s worth pushing through the tough, dark times to reach success.

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran

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If you’re a fan of the show Shark Tank, then you’ll know exactly who this next memoir is about. Corcoran tells her story of how she made it big. And it definitely wasn’t a walk in the park for this investor. She describes failing at 22 different jobs — yes, you read that number right.

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When she found herself waitressing, she decided something needed to change. Corcoran borrowed $1,000 from her boyfriend and started a small real estate office in New York. She tells readers about the ways she built this tiny office into a $6 billion business using the lessons her mom taught her while growing up (moms really do know everything don’t they?).

Corcoran built her business from nothing, and now she’s a“shark� on a hit show. She wrote this book to highlight that anyone can have a success story.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

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Walter Isaacson uncovered the truth behind the man who created one of the biggest brands in history: Apple. In a series of over 40 interviews — which took place over the course of two years — Isaacson wrote the story of what made Jobs such a force for change. 

Jobs had no control over what was written in the book and was not able to read it before it was published, which ensured that the information is accurate and raw. Isaacson also interviewed Jobs’ family members, friends, competitors, adversaries, coworkers, and acquaintances.

Jobs’ exceptionally strong personality, often unpleasant leadership style, and intense way of life shines through in Isaacson’s writing. Readers get a microscopic view into his day-to-day and thought processes. The book also has little-known stories about this entrepreneur who transformed computers, laptops, phones, and so many other devices into what we know them as today.

Entrepreneurship

Have you always dreamed of starting your own company? There are countless books available to those who aspire to own their own businesses, as well as some for those who already do.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

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Everywhere you turn, a new startup is popping up on the market. People all over the world are finding investors and starting their dream companies. Unfortunately, not all of them succeed. In fact, plenty of startups simply fail.

Ries takes a look at why so many startups fail and how a lot of these failures are preventable. The Lean Startup offers a new approach to the way startups are built and launched to avoid failure.

The approach gives startups a way to test their vision and business plan continuously throughout the building process, adapt it to the feedback they are getting from real customers, and then adjust it before they reach the point of failure. This is a great book for anyone who has recently started a new business or has plans to start a business. The Lean Startup is a simple yet disruptive approach that will increase any new company’s chances of success.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

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Have you ever noticed that the most successful people in life are often the ones that work hard, persist, and are also extremely passionate about what they do? Well, that winning combination is what New York Times bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth calls “grit.�

Duckworth is a firm believer that anyone striving to succeed, no matter their age or professional status, needs a blend of long-term persistence and passion — not talent. She adds her own personal story to the book and mentions what it was like growing up with her father, a scientist, who often mentioned her “lack of genius.� Duckworth adds to the intrigue of the book by taking readers into the world of cadets working through their first days at West Point, teachers in some of the toughest schools in the country, and other inspirational anecdotes.

Duckworth gives readers insight on how to be persistent and find what they are most passionate about. And she shows readers that no matter who they are or where they come from, anyone can have grit. 

Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches by Steve Harvey

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Thanks to my brother, I have watched a lot of Family Feud. Although the game show is a bit goofy at times, I often find myself laughing at the comments made by the larger-than-life personality of host Steve Harvey. His outgoing, happy, and playful demeanor makes the show. But who is Steve Harvey? TV personality, millionaire, comedian? How did he become a household name? 

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Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success
is a book for aspiring entrepreneurs. It gives readers insight into how anyone can achieve financial freedom and happiness. Harvey truly believes everyone has a gift given to them at birth and that we all just need to find ours.

The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John

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And here’s another one for my fellow Shark Tank fans. John is one of the show’s hosts and the CEO of FUBU. He’s another entrepreneur who started with little money and successfully turned his company into a billion-dollar business. 

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The Power of Broke takes readers through the story of John selling and promoting home-sewn shirts on the streets in Queens all on a $40 budget.

John draws on his own experience and the experience of other highly successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses with nothing. He explains why the best time to start your next venture may actually be when you have the fewest resources available — you’ll be forced to learn “the power of brokeâ€� quickly as success is your only option. 

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

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Author and podcast producer Tim Ferriss is known for his extremely in-depth, two-to-three hour interviews. During these interviews, he dives deep into the minds of some of the world’s most successful business people, scientists, doctors, athletes, celebrities, and others.

Tools of Titans describes the best tactics, lessons, and tools that Ferriss learned from his interview subjects over the years. Ferriss says he has applied every tactic and method mentioned in the book to his own life to see what works for him — and what doesn’t.

Some of the questions Ferriss asks during his interviews include: What do you do in the first hour you’re awake in the morning? What is your workout routine and why? What books do you share with others? What supplements do you take daily?

Interviewing some of the world’s smartest and most talented people has provided Ferriss with life-changing information that he shares in this book to try and help improve others’ lives as well. 

Marketing

In a time where technology is ever-changing, marketers need to find new ways to target customers. These books provide marketers with a guide to some of the most classic tactics that are still relevant, as well as innovative ways to reach your target audience. 

Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith

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Selling the Invisible a is straightforward, fluff-free marketing book that covers the specific tactics that help businesses to turn a prospect into a customer. The book describes how service marketing works to retain customers and turn them into promoters of a brand. The key lessons are: How to remain succinct and accessible to customers, how to keep an eye on the prize, and how to stay focused on the final goal of the customer.

Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

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*Insert clap for HubSpot’s talented co-founders here.*

As technology has changed over the years, so has the best way to market to customers. People have little tolerance for interruptive ads. Instead, you need to attract your target audience through helpful content that adds value to the relationship and builds trust.

Detailing the core tenets of the inbound marketing methodology, Halligan and Shah show you how to attract, engage, and delight your customers to increase engagement and grow your customer base. The book outlines important tactics, such as lead nurturing, blogging, email marketing, and others, and shows you exactly what you need to do to build a successful marketing strategy that turns strangers into promoters. 

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

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To succeed as a business, you must eliminate your competitors. You also need a new idea that nobody has — something that really separates you from other brands. In other words, you need clear waters … a blue ocean.

This is exactly what the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy argue. Lasting success for a company means customers aren’t confusing your business with your competitors’ who have similar products and structures to your own. Your goal is to avoid being in the “shark-infested, bloody waters� and instead find your own calm and quiet blue ocean.

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Kim and Mauborgne give readers tips on how to find new market space and make competitors insignificant.

Conclusion

Reading about other’s successes and failures will help you follow their example and avoid their mistakes. These books — and so many more — have the potential to help you advance your career, find your passion, and stay motivated. 

Just because you graduated from college, think you landed your dream job, or even retired doesn’t mean you should stop learning. So, log onto Amazon, hit up your local Barnes and Noble, or turn on that Kindle to find a book that piques your interest and start reading.


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Tool Overload is Slowing Your Marketing Team Down

Marketing teams tend to pick up a new tool for every problem.

An email marketing tool here, an ads tool there, a CRM somewhere else. Before you know it, accomplishing your daily tasks requires you to navigate a tangled, borderline incomprehensible web of point solutions, free trials, and complex, custom integrations that stall out when you need them the most.

Building a marketing strategy around an à la carte selection of tools seems sustainable at first, but it can get messy fast — especially for growing companies with shifting needs.

Consider this: over 50% of marketers say they use five or more tools a day, and over a quarter use more than ten.

Wrangling this veritable hodgepodge of tools takes a lot of effort, and it’s stealing valuable time out of your day (not to mention, energy and patience from your employees).

Over 50% of marketers reported spending over 30 minutes a day integrating marketing tools, maintaining existing integrations, and managing their marketing technology. 28% said they’re spending an hour or more each day managing tools.

It shouldn’t be this challenging to keep the technology your team depends on functioning properly. All those tools don’t just create a major hassle for your marketing team — they also lead to a crummy experience for your customers.

When your tools aren’t talking to each other, your customers get a subpar experience with your brand.

So what does tool overload look like from your customers’ perspective?

When your marketing tools are disjointed, you aren’t able to personalize content or offers to prospects when they take an action on your website, like filling out a form.

For example, I filled out a form on a popular clothing retailer’s website and reported my gender as ‘male’. If this company’s marketing tools were all on the same page, they would be able to serve me emails and other relevant materials about their new men’s fashion offers. Unfortunately, the information they collected about me on a form doesn’t seem to be connected to their email marketing tool. As a result, I’m consistently receiving unpersonalized emails about women’s fashion.

With too many disconnected tools in rotation, you also risk sending your existing customers offers or promotions for products they already have. For instance, I frequently receive emails from my credit card company asking me to sign up for the card I’ve already been using for months. That’s not just an annoying disconnect between their customer database and their marketing database — it’s a missed opportunity to introduce me to something new.

So how do you beat tool overload?

Instead of adopting an entirely new tool for each marketing problem you encounter, find a tool that can grow with you — adapting to your changing needs and connecting each part of your marketing strategy without a steep learning curve.

Your marketing tools work better when they work together. Form submissions should populate immediately in your CRM. Your CRM should inform your email segmentation. Emails should be personalized based on CRM data. Sales and marketing should work in the same system. All the context for all your contacts should exist in one simple place.

That all sounds great, but are people actually thinking that way? As it turns out, yes.

34% of marketers are interested in switching to an all-in-one software provider for marketing.

So what’s stopping them?

Well, getting a lot of different features to work seamlessly together tends to be really expensive. And making that first significant investment can be scary.

But what if you didn’t have to make a big, upfront investment to get your tools to talk to each other? What if there was a way to start with a system that had everything you need right now in one place, and would be able to grow and scale as you do?

Marketing Hub Starter offers a complete suite of tools that work together and grow with you.

With so many tools available, it’s easier than ever to start building out your marketing strategy. But it’s harder than ever to get started right.

Learn More About Marketing Hub Starter

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Why HQ Trivia Is Actually a Genius Marketing Strategy

Why HQ Trivia Is Actually a Genius Marketing Strategy

It’s been less than a year since HQ Trivia launched — and since then (around here, at least), it’s hard to go a day without hearing its name.

Don’t get me wrong. As a major proponent of pub trivia nights (not that I excel at them), I can see the appeal of a trivia app. But one, I thought, that is consumed passively — perhaps while waiting in line, or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.

But no. HQ Trivia — the live, game-show-esque, social trivia app — does things differently.

You can only play at certain times of day: 3:00 and 9:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. You can win cash, no matter how nominal the amount. And you play with a community — of about two million players per game — that you can engage with during the game, in real-time.

But it’s not just two million of your closest friends who have taken notice. Investors have, too, and as of March, the company was valued at $100 million.

What’s more, certain tech giants look to be borrowing some ideas from HQ — though they’re not exactly admitting it. Facebook, for example, is adding game shows to its Watch roster, along with interactive elements that allow viewers to watch and “play along at home.” 

YouTube, for its part, introduced similar tools for creators — like audience polling — last November.

So what’s the big deal? Why are so many people taking notice of, investing in, and trying to copy HQ — and what can the rest of us learn from it? 

The Genius Marketing of HQ Trivia

The Appeal

Play to Win

Prior to writing this story, I had never played HQ, though I had heard of it — which seems to be common.

According to our survey of 478 internet users, we found that most respondents hadn’t heard of HQ — and that of those who were familiar with it, most had never played it before.

Have you ever heard of HQ Trivia_

Data collected with Lucid

Before the games began, I asked my more HQ-savvy colleagues to share their insights. Is it worth the hype? Is it as addicting as it seems?

“Yes,” says Leslie Ye, a senior content marketing manager at HubSpot. “People lose their minds over winning three cents.”

So maybe that has something to do with HQ’s success — the potential to win something, especially if that “thing” is as tangible as real money (instead of, say, cryptocurrency).

For each game, HQ sets a certain amount of total cash available to win, like $5,000, for instance. But that amount rarely goes to just one or two players, says HubSpot Marketing Blog Intern Swetha Amaresan — whose friend once won $6 playing — and is more often divided among thousands of winners.

“It’s so rare that you’ll win more than once — or that you’ll even win as much as $6,” she explains. “It’s the app’s way of keeping you playing even after you win.”

Social Edition

But the appeal doesn’t end there, and unsurprisingly, the social aspects might lend itself to the app’s success, too.

“It’s very, very social,” Amaresan tells me. “People all over the world are commenting while they’re playing, and you can engage with them or see how they’re doing.”

And maybe, says Ye, that also adds a competitive factor to its appeal — what she calls a potentially “weird pride thing.”

So that seemingly powerful nexus — where a social, interactive experience meets the potential to win — isn’t just anecdotal, nor is it limited to this one trivia app. 

Keri Lindenmuth, Marketing Manager of technology consulting firm KDG, says that her company has seen similar success with projects that added an element of gamification.

“We’ve found that crowdfunding campaigns do much better when there is a game in place, because an entire community is working toward a common goal,” she says. “Social sharing always helps. People like to share how well they did in a game … which only encourages more users to get involved.”

“HQ Trivia works the same way.”

– Keri Lindenmuth, Marketing Manager, KDG

That’s exactly how HQ Trivia works, Lindenmuth explains. “Players feel as if they’re part of a community, and everyone loves to brag a little on Facebook or Twitter about how many questions they got right.”

The Experience

There was one element of the game for which I wasn’t forewarned: its tendency to glitch, making many users unable to select any answer at all.

That’s what happened when I set forth, with Amaresan’s help, to play my very first 3:00 PM game of HQ Trivia. The app experienced a glitch, and unable to answer the most fundamental question of the game, I was eliminated from the first round.

“That was stressful,” I later told her. “I feel like one of the women eliminated from ‘The Bachelorette’ on the first night.”

“That’s very sad,” she responded.

But here’s the thing — neither the glitch, nor my obscenely early elimination from the game, are likely to discourage me from playing again.

That’s partially because I kept watching, even after I was eliminated, and saw how many of the subsequent questions I would have gotten correct. 

Aha! So it’s that possibility of winning, as I mentioned earlier — the “I would’ve gotten those answers right” effect — that, for now, will keep me coming back, even if my total winnings would have amounted to $0.88.

IMG_2290

That’s core to the marketing brilliance of HQ: let people participate, and give them a reason to come back — with an incentive.

“It’s engaging, and possibly addictive, for a variety of reasons,” says Nate Lehoux, co-founder of competitive cash trivia app PROVEIT, “but we think that its primary appeal is actually the fact that it’s almost impossible to win.” 

“What used to be a spectator sport is now a virtual community event. That’s a huge disruption of the status quo.”

– Nate Lehoux, Co-founder, PROVEIT

So it’s not winning, Lehoux says, that keeps people coming back — which is exactly what seemed to happen with my own inaugural HQ experience. 

“Losing a round of HQ creates an ‘I’ll show you!’ mindset,” he explains, “that makes players come back next time to try and beat their own previous records.”

So, will I allow myself to become a glutton for punishment and tune in for the 9:00 PM game?

Well, of course. After all — that’s just one part of what makes the HQ strategy so effective.

Featured image: Apple/Intermedia Labs


Source: New feed

Why So Much Mid- and Bottom-Funnel Content Doesn’t Work — and What We Can Do About It

Recently, I was working on a story about a wave of new technology that could help publishers fight back against Facebook. I spent hours scouring the web for product videos about these new tools because I trust jargony brand press releases about as much as I trust Roseanne Barr to take over my Twitter account. I wanted to see the products in action.

But for many of the tools, finding a decent product video was hard. Way too hard. They either didn’t exist or were generic animated explainers. (You know what I’m talking about. There’s always a waving cartoon white guy with an oddly-shaped head with a voice-over that sounds like the history teacher who put you to sleep every day in 11th grade.)

Unfortunately, this is something I see time and time again as a content strategist. The product video—arguably the most impactful piece of content a brand can create—ends up a total afterthought.

Silo Syndrome

Naturally, I started wondering why so many brands fail to invest in decent product videos. Content investment has been on the rise for years. You think it’d be priority No. 1.

The truth, however, is that content marketing had an awkward adolescence, one that’s left it with some identity issues. For no good reason, marketers have come to think of “content marketing� as articles, white papers, webinars, infographics, “snackable social videos� (groan), and not much else.

As a result, the talented content creators inside many companies get siloed into a content marketing group shut off from the rest of the organization. Product marketing and sales enablement materials are off-limits, guarded by rival marketing teams. While the content at the top of the funnel begins to resemble the work of a modern media company, mid- and bottom-funnel content still looks like it was created in 2002. (And in some cases, I’ve discovered, it was created in 2002.)

The product video problem, in fact, is just a symptom of a larger issue—up until now, most companies have thought about content marketing all wrong.

The End of Content Marketing as We Know It

This year, Gartner released its first magic quadrant for content marketing platforms. It also predicted that “content marketing� as a term will be dead in three years—�because all content will be marketed as a way of attracting attention-limited audiences.�

This is right on … because it was the whole idea behind content marketing in the first place. Content marketing first took off in 2012. By then, it’d become clear that consumers were spending less time paying attention to traditional advertising because of the rapid proliferation of smartphones and streaming. Publishers, desperate to stay afloat, choked webpages with display units, until display had begun to feel less like a channel and more like one of the 10 plagues.

Then, along came content marketing, which posed a simple solution: What if brands just told stories that people wanted to watch, hear and read?

The early, inspiring examples that made Ad Age headlines were all top-of-funnel plays. Red Bull became a major sports media company, GE turned its image around with awesome science and engineering reporting, and American Express created a popular blog for small-business owners.

And so, companies created content marketing groups to give this new movement a try. But many never seriously tried to integrate great content into the rest of their marketing organization.

But the impetus for content marketing was never just a top-of-funnel problem. Great content is meant to grab people’s attention and change the way they think about a brand throughout the customer journey. No one wins when you show up as your cool, fun, best self on the first date, but then devolve into a boring egomaniac wearing a baggy funeral suit by the third.

Ultimately, bad product videos are more than bad product videos. They’re a sign that we need to evolve from content marketing to “marketing with content�—to putting systems in place that ensure every piece of marketing collateral a company creates is as captivating, helpful and on-brand. When that happens, content delivers real business results, building deeper relationships with customers, persuading them to think differently, and solving the problems it was meant to solve.

And if you’re looking for a jumping off point to spark change and prove your point? Well, the product video is a great place to start.


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21 Incredible Geometric Patterns Perfect for Your Next Design

21 Incredible Geometric Patterns Perfect for Your Next Design

There’s a certain psychology to shapes.

The square, for instance, evokes feelings of stability and formality — which makes sense, when we think about popular square-shaped items in our lives (houses, tables, computer screens). We often see this shape in logos when reliability is a critical component, like for Microsoft or American Express.

The triangle, meanwhile, can suggest action (road signs, mountains), but might also appear balanced and solid (Egyptian pyramids). We see this shape in logos when mobility is a necessary factor, like for Delta or Adidas.

A geometric pattern repeats or re-aligns shapes to create movement and freshness in a design. Knowing the importance of shapes to create meaning, it makes sense for businesses to consider using geometric patterns to inspire their audience.

New Call-to-action

Here, we’ve compiled some of the sleekest and most innovative geometric patterns businesses are using today. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next redesign, look no further.

1. Gallery and Co. Branding by Foreign Policy.

2. Sorry Colour by Alex Lorenzo.

3. NICFI by Tank Design, Daniel Brox Nordmo, and Ina Brantenberg.

4. Arq by Stitch Design Co.

5. BBC artwork by Liam Brazier.

6. Flock Cafe by Kilo Studio.

7. Ruiseñor by Yeye Design.

8. CareerTrackers by Garbett.

9. The Swap Show by Foreign Policy.

10. Dance Ink by Pentagram.

11. Gulf Air by Saffron Consultants.

12. Business Cards by Lucie Mcilroy.

13. Andrés Sandoval by A Practice for Everyday Life.

14. Dan Pearson Studio by Spin.

15. Beau Cacao by SocioDesign.

16. Comedy Feast by Only.

17. ICP by Aris Zenone.

18. Utrecht by Total Identity Group.

19. St. Erhard by Bedow.

20. Les Vitrines by Des Signes.

21. Moimio by Helen & Co.

 
Ready to use of these designs on your next project? Download our collection of more than 195 design templates for visual content creation below.
 
download 195+ free design templates
 
195 free visual design templates


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Email Writing: How To Craft Effective Emails For International Teams

Email Writing: How To Craft Effective Emails For International Teams

Are you a non-native English speaker who needs to regularly write emails to your international colleagues?

It can be a challenge to write effective, conversational emails when English isn’t your first language, but this article will provide some helpful tips to help you improve the overall quality of your emails and sound more like a native English speaker.

Being a non-native English speaker doesn’t mean you need to be limited by fear and insecurity every single time you hit the “send” button. Once you’ve applied these simple strategies to your writing, you should be able to confidently send emails to anyone (even those from native English-speaking countries like the US.)

Email Writing Tips for International Teams

Most people won’t tell you this, but crafting a good email begins even before you put down a single word. Writing a good email starts with your mindset.

When you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be able to write effective emails that communicate and persuade.

Sounds logical … but how do you enter the “correct frame of mind�?

You internalize a few important email writing rules that you should apply to every single email you write. The best part is — these rules can also be applied to any form of communication, not just email.

Email Writing Rule #1: Imagine Receiving The Email You’re Writing

Have you ever received an email that it was so incoherent you couldn’t even finish reading it, let alone even consider replying? Or included a completely irrelevant proposition?

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.17.34 PM

Ahrefs is an SEO tool, yet they received an email from a fishing company

One of the biggest problems when it comes to email writing is the lack of empathy for the recipient. Before even writing an email, most people won’t even consider whether their email will be well-received by the other party.

If you want your email taken seriously, you need to be able to empathize with your recipient before you even start writing. Think about the person you’re sending an email to:

  • Why are you emailing this person?
  • What does the person you’re emailing want?
  • Is this the right person to contact, considering what I’m trying to achieve?

Of course, if you’re already close to this person, then these questions are not as necessary. You can probably dash off a quick email, and still get a reply.

But, if you’re sending an email to someone new, or unfamiliar, then take some time to reflect on these questions. Your answers will help you write a more thoughtful, coherent email.

Email Writing Rule #2: Write Like You Talk

If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s normal to feel like you should be more formal when it comes to your email writing.

However, this results in emails that are too formal, and come off as awkward or stiff. For example:

Native English speakers write more informally — their writing sounds like one person talking to another.

Here is a quick grammar tip that will always help you sound more native: Write in an active voice and avoid the passive voice.

An “active voice� shows that a subject is performing the verb’s action, e.g.: “Marilyn mailed the letter.�

In contrast, the “passive voice� shows that the verb is acted upon by the subject, e.g.: “The letter was mailed by Marilyn.�

Instead of writing “your feedback would be much appreciated�, try saying “I would appreciate your feedback.� Instead of writing “your request has been received�, try saying “I received your request.�

Notice how writing in an active voice sounds more human.

How To Write An Effective Email

1. The Subject Line

The subject line is usually the first thing someone reads before they decide to open your email. This also means that the subject line holds the key to whether your email is opened, ignored, or deleted.

Unfortunately, non-native English speakers don’t always know what to write in the subject line.

Take a look at this example:

This particular subject line (real-life example by the way) is vague, indirect and does not hint to me at all what the content of the email will be about.

The result? *Delete*.

Subject lines are especially important if you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. The recipient doesn’t know who you are, and can only judge you from your subject line.

Even if you’re sending emails internally at your company, it still pays to write a great subject line so your recipient has an idea of what to expect. Like any busy person, your teammates receives a ton of email every day, and would certainly appreciate the extra effort of a descriptive subject line.

So, how do you write a good subject line?

Be clear, direct and describe the content of your email. Don’t be afraid to take up the whole subject line. Go ahead and tell them what to expect.

As you can see, there’s no need to resort to sneaky tricks or clickbait titles just to induce an open. Remember – you don’t want people to be tricked into reading your email, you actually want them to read it and take some kind of action.

You want to associate positive feelings with your email, not anger and disappointment.

Here are some good examples of subject lines:

  • I’m going to be in Town next Tues – are you available?
  • Introduction to Kevin Bacon
  • FAQ — will you take you 2 minutes — need answer today
  • Susan suggested I reach out to you

2. Start with an appropriate greeting.

To kick off the email, you should begin with an appropriate greeting. There are two components to the greeting: the salutation and the opening sentence.

Most non-native English speakers, probably out of fear of offending someone, tend to stick to just one salutation — Dear [X]. No matter the context, non-native English speakers will use Dear [X] over and over again.

The appropriate salutation actually depends on the situation. If you’re writing a formal email to a bank or government institution, it would be better to start off with Dear [X].

If you’re sending an email to someone you know, or work in a casual environment, then it is perfectly fine to go with a Hi [name].

To help you out, here is a list of salutations you can open with in your emails:

  • Dear [First Name]
  • Dear Mr./Ms. [Last Name]
  • [Name]
  • Good morning/afternoon
  • Hi
  • Hey
  • Hey/Hi there

Once you’ve gotten the salutation out of the way, it is time for an appropriate opening sentence. While the subject line determines whether your email is opened, your opening sentence determines whether your email is read till the end.

The best way to do this correctly is to research the person you’re writing to. Find out what your recipient is interested in. Look around their social media profiles (e.g Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), and if they publish, read some of their blog posts.

Do a Google search on their name, and see if anything interesting comes up. Visit their company’s website, read their About Us page, and find out what they are working on or interested in collaborating on.

With this information, you can write an opening sentence that builds rapport. Show that you understand them, what they need, and how you can help them.

With this, you can also show that you’re different — that you’re interested in them, are willing to go the extra mile to find out more. Showing that you understand their challenges helps build trust.

Of course, this is not necessary if you’re emailing a colleague or someone you know, but it is still important to establish some kind of context so that they know what’s happening.

3. Keep your message short and concise.

According to Statista, we send and receive roughly 269 billion emails a day.

If we average out across everyone in the developed world (~4 billion people), every single person would receive about 68 emails/day!

This alarming statistic make one thing very clear: we spend a lot of time reading emails.

To write an email that is opened, read and acted upon is not easy. You have to put in the work upfront to ensure that the email is professional, empathetic, and easy to read.

You have to respect your readers’ time. While you may feel like you need to tell them everything in one email, don’t. No one is eagerly awaiting a three-page essay arriving in their inbox. Here’s one I received recently:

Ugh.

Instead, keep the email short, concise and to the point. Stick to essential and specific information.

Think about it this way: what’s the ONE thing you want to achieve after the person sees your email?

Make sure the email is written in such a way where it achieves the end result you want.

When you need to include a lot of information in an email, it’s probably better to suggest a phone call or a meeting instead.

Pro-Tip: Use this free meeting tool to schedule your meetings faster and avoid back-and-forth emails.

4. Use standard fonts.

If you’re using a non-English keyboard, your fonts may not show up properly on the other person’s device.

If you’re trying to look like a native speaker, use standard fonts. Some fonts for languages have their own “English font�, which are a dead giveaway that the person writing is a non-native speaker:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.24.37 PM

To prevent all kinds of tech issues from coming up, stick to what is safe. Use web-safe email fonts like:

  • Arial
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica
  • Lucida Sans
  • Tahoma
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

In fact, this is the exact list Gmail gives:

This will ensure that your recipient will receive your message in a normal font no matter what devices or operating system they are using.

5. Writing your closing.

Once you’re done with the content of your email, it’s time to close it off.

You don’t have to make it fancy — just keep your closing simple and straightforward.

So, nothing like this:

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 12.25.59 PM

Instead, stick to the safe, proven closing lines — and you should be good.

You can choose from some of the most common closing lines below:

  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours truly
  • Yours
  • Sincerely
  • Best regards
  • Best
  • Warm regards
  • Warm wishes
  • Kind regards
  • Kind wishes
  • Thank you
  • Thanks

If you’re really looking for something out-of-the-ordinary and fancy, then take a look at this list of email sign-offs that you can try.

6. Schedule your emails.

Because you’re writing an international email, time zones matter.

Due to the influx of emails one receives, an email you sent early in the morning could be buried at the bottom of his inbox by the time your recipient checks it. This may also mean that all your hard work spent crafting the email would be wasted.

Instead, set yourself up for success.

Remember Rule #1? Put yourself in their shoes.

When would they be most receptive? When would their inbox be “emptier�?

It might be during lunch. It might be Sunday evening when they are preparing for the week ahead. It might even be Friday — they’re probably in a good mood because the weekend is coming.

Then, use our free email scheduling tool to ensure that your emails are sent at the right time to the recipient’s inbox.

7. Do a final spelling and grammar check.

Don’t fail at the last mile.

Don’t spend all your time crafting a perfect message, only to be ignored by the recipient because it’s riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

After you’ve finished drafting your email, copy and paste it into Microsoft Word or Google Docs to give it a quick grammar, phrasing, and spelling check. Alternatively, you can also use checkers like Grammarly to automate the process while you’re drafting.

 Do a quick read-aloud to make sure that you’re not writing clunkily, or sound like a robot. You need your email copy to sound human.

Remember — help the reader focus on the message, not on your spelling errors.

Want more? Learn how to send the right email to the right person and provide maximum value with this free email marketing lesson.

 

 

[a]Source: http://shortwavedxer.blogspot.com/2013/01/china-tibet-broadcasting-voice-of-china.html[b]Couldn’t replicate what you wanted.. But I found this example.[c]Made the change


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What is the Deep Web? A 3-Minute Rundown

Most marketers say the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google. I disagree. There’s a darker digital graveyard. It’s called the deep web. A place where Google can’t find anything.

I’ll admit, that was a pretty grim description of the deep web. But it isn’t the sinister abyss of illegal and disturbing activity that the media clamors about. That place is called the dark web.

The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are often used interchangeably — they’re not the same thing, though. The dark web is technically a tiny sliver of the deep web, making up 0.01% of it, but the horror stories you hear about the dark web don’t actually happen on the deep web.

In fact, most of the content on the deep web is quite similar to the content that you can find on Google, which is called the surface web. And we use it everyday without even knowing it.

The deep web is just content you can’t find on a search engine, like your personal email account, social media accounts, online banking account, a brand’s gated pages, or a corporation’s private database.

The only difference between the deep web and the surface web is that a thin layer of security stonewalls the public from accessing content on the deep web, whereas anyone can access content on the surface web.

Over 96% of online content is on the deep web — most of the information we access on the internet requires authentication, like your online banking portal or email account. Imagine if anybody could access these accounts by just Googling your name. Your most personal information would be publicized to the entire world.

Websites don’t index these authentication-protected pages for Google to find for good reason — only certain people should have access to them, not everyone.

The deep web isn’t entirely without fault, though. While the dark web only makes up 0.01% of the deep web, this tiny sliver is arguably its most dangerous part.

You can’t access the dark web through a standard web browser like Google Chrome or Safari — you need to download an encryption software like Tor to do so. Tor anonymizes users’ identity, location, and data transfers, so there tends to be a lot of criminal activity on the dark web. According to a study by two cyber-intelligence threat experts, over half of sites on the dark web offer illegal products or services. And it’s virtually impossible to track any of these criminals or their activities.

But even though it’s nearly impossible for law enforcement to catch these criminals, the dark web’s anonymity is actually beneficial for its ethical users.

Since you can use the dark web to communicate online without leaving a digital footprint, political whistleblowers, activists, and journalists who live in oppressive countries that censor the internet or punish outspoken citizens can leverage the dark web to state their true opinions without revealing their identities.

The dark web has two stark spectrums. It can be a platform for the silenced or it can be a breeding ground for illegal activity. And that begs the question …

They support Tor because it protects the privacy of activists who are trying to upend their countries’ tyrannical regimes. These people’s survival and freedom depend on this technology.

The Deep Web: Unfairly Misunderstood?

The deep web is mistakenly associated with the dark web’s illegal activity all the time, and it’s also called the invisible or hidden web, which further mystifies its surprisingly normal uses.

The deep web isn’t just a marketplace for drugs and other illegal items — that description isn’t even remotely accurate. The deep web is mostly harmless and extremely important for protecting our personal information and privacy.

It’s essential for everyday life.


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How to Block Websites on Chrome Desktop and Mobile

Let’s say you want to block certain websites, like Facebook or Pinterest, on your work computer to ensure those distractions aren’t inhibiting your productivity.

Or, maybe you just want to guarantee all Google searches aren’t available to your six-year-old.

Whatever the case, blocking a website on Chrome desktop or mobile is an easy and simple process. Best of all, it’s just as effortless to unblock those sites — so you can scroll through Pinterest, post-workday.

How to Block Websites on Chrome Desktop

  1. Go to the Block Site extension, and click “Add to Chrome�.

 

2. Click “Add extension� in the pop-up box.

3. You’ll see an icon at the top right of your Chrome screen — an orange shield with a circle and a diagonal line through the middle.

 

4. Let’s say you’re feeling a little bitter from a recent World Cup loss, and want to block sports’ sites for a while. Simply go to a website, click that orange shield icon in the top right, and click “Block this site�.

 

5. Now, you won’t be able to reach cbssports.com (or any other website you chose). You’ve successfully blocked it. To unblock the site, click “Edit your list� in the top right (or click the icon, and then click “Edit block sites list�).

 

6. Each of your blocked websites will have a “minusâ€� icon to the right — click that minus button, and your site will be unblocked.

 

How to Block Websites on Chrome Mobile (Android)

If you often surf the web via Chrome on your Android, you might need to block certain websites to ensure increased productivity at all times of day. Here are six easy steps to block websites on your Android Chrome browser (or any Android browser):

  1. Open Google Play Store and install the BlockSite app.
  2. Open the downloaded BlockSite app.
  3. Click “Enable� to allow the app to block websites.
  4. Click “Got itâ€� — this will take you to your Accessibility settings.
  5. Select “BlockSite� and turn the switch from “OFF� to “ON�. Then click “OK� in the pop-up window.
  6. Click the “+� button in the bottom right.
  7. Enter any websites you want to block and click the check mark in the top right corner.

How to Block Websites on iOS Devices

There are a few apps in the app store that allow you to block websites on your iOS device. Here are two options with similar functions:

  1. Zero Willpower: This app is $1.99, and lets you create an easy list of all websites you want to block from Safari on your iPhone. Even better, there’s a timer, so you can block a website for a limited period of time.
  2. Site Blocker: Similar to Zero Willpower, Site Blocker lets you block distracting or unwanted websites on Safari on an iOS device, and includes a timer and suggestions as well. This app is free.

Now you’re all set to block distracting websites from your Chrome browser on desktop or Android. If you find you’re still struggling with productivity, take a look at our Ultimate Guide to the Best Productivity Apps.


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8 Essential Budget Templates for Marketers [Free Download]

8 Essential Budget Templates for Marketers [Free Download]

Let’s face it: Executing a successful marketing plan requires time, energy, and money.

And with so many different facets of marketing to consider — branding and creative, product marketing, hosting events, etc. — your marketing budget can disappear real fast.

Ever found yourself scratching your head with a depleted budget at the end of the month, quarter, or year? Ready to leave behind the days of ambiguous spending and vanishing budgets? Well, we have the perfect resource for you: 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend.

These helpful templates make it easy to manage all of the moving pieces of your budget at a monthly and quarterly level.Click here to download your 8 free marketing budget templates.

With a separate Excel file for each team to keep track of their spending, as well as a “master” template for collecting all the totals, creating a high-level view of your marketing expenses is a breeze.

The templates can be used to track your expenses in the following areas:

  • Branding & Creative
  • Content
  • Events
  • Paid Advertising
  • Project Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Website Redesign

Does your team favor the Cloud over Microsoft Office? We’ve still got you covered. You can try the Google Sheets version of the same eight templates to share access with other Gmail users and keep your budget in one place.

Check out our 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend for access to both the Excel and Google Sheets templates.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

 
download free marketing budget templates


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