Monday, July 10, 2017

What Makes It Great - Sidewalk Sale

For more than 50 years, Downtown Lawrence retailers have been filling the sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York around the third Thursday of July with unbelievable deals that the likes of which you only find for the annual sidewalk repair contractor Bronx sale. Yes, even the weather is generally brutally hot, but that does not block the bargain hunters from going downtown to tromp up and down Mass Street scooping up the products.

For most shoppers, the annual sidewalk repair Bronx NY in Downtown Lawrence is as big a day as Black Friday. Thousands of ancient birds are lined up and ready for the opening rounds at 6:00 a.m. It is not unusual for sales personnel to spend Wednesday night and Thursday morning prepping for the purchase so they can hoist the makeshift awnings and start bringing out merchandise at 5:00 a.m.

For many, it's a party atmosphere and a bit of a friendly rivalry to see that store will get the bragging rights for those that had been ready the oldest. It never ceases to amaze me just how a lot of people will come out early to receive the best prices in Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, and the Gap. These shops have been amassing sale merchandise from toddler shops across the country to make the most of the throngs of shoppers that appear for this function. I have observed lines for finishing purchases that stretch 50 yards down the Bronx sidewalk repair.
sidewalk repair contractors in bronx new york

Packs of teenage girls and college coeds swarm the racks up and down the street and Lord help the woman who grabs that last size two skirt that is discounted by 75\%. It's every woman for herself on sidewalk repair Bronx day. I've seen lifelong friendships crumble before your eyes two buddies grab exactly the same skirt.

For retailers, the annual DOT sidewalk violation Bronx is a time to clear out the inventory rooms in preparation for receiving vacation product. For shoppers, it is a fantastic method to get a head start a return to school shopping. And for your City, it's a great way to increase revenue tax collections throughout the tired summer months when many KU students have gone home for the summer.

The sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York is also an excellent time for many non-profit and service organizations to achieve a large audience. You may purchase your raffle tickets to win the yearly "Casa for CASA" playhouse or cease from the Lawrence Humane Society stall to create a donation or purchase a t-shirt.

You could also join the World Company's tweetup and tweet friends and family with the latest bargain. You can make the DOT sidewalk violation Bronx one of those trending issues on Twitter.

When you haven't experienced the sidewalk repair contractors in Bronx New York deal, plan to come on Thursday, July 21st. You do not even have to shop. There's great entertainment just watching people browsing for bargains, catching up with old friends or just watching the world go by

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Portable Solar Power Systems Review

Why Buy a Solar Power System?


You can use portable solar power systems for a variety of reasons, from emergency kits you can keep at home to smaller, lightweight kits that you can take miles away from the nearest wall plug. Solar power systems provide convenient energy that is clean and renewable. As long as you have sun, you have power. The lower wattage panels, such as Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel can keep your cell phone or laptop charged, while the larger emergency kits, like the Goal Zero Yeti or Renogy's Solar Suitcase, will keep the lights on or even power the inside of your recreational vehicle.
Portable Solar Power Systems: What to Look For

Remember, portable doesn’t always mean it is small enough to put in your pocket or backpack. In fact, many kits that advertise as portable are heavy briefcases or even blocks that roll on wheels. Choosing the right solar power kit depends on your required wattage, adaptors and accessories you need, and how much you’re looking to carry.

Wattage

What are you going to be charging and how much power do you need? Prices will vary, and the wattage of the portable solar power system could be as low as 4 watts to as high as 1,500 watts. Don't buy lower wattage systems just to save money though. The lower the wattage, the longer it takes to charge. If you’re in need of power during an emergency, you can’t put a price on your peace of mind.

Accessories

When looking at different units, pay close attention to how and where the power is stored. If you buy a solar power system to charge electronic devices, you might also need to purchase separate accessories such as USB plugs or wall-style sockets. Some systems are so basic that the only way to save solar energy is by using alligator clips and an external battery.

Weight & Compactness

This is the true value of your solar power system, and whether or not it truly is portable. You should pay close attention to the weight, especially if you’re considering a system for a road trip or a long-distance hike. A 15-pound solar panel adds a lot of weight when backpacking. If it’s a larger system for staying off the grid, you won't mind the weight if you keep the solar power unit in a cabin or RV. Consider how small it is and if it's easy to store.

A portable solar power system is the grown-up version of building a fort. With the right portable solar power system, you are only limited by your imagination. A fully charged system could allow you to write on your laptop under the stars or keep food fresh without lugging around ice. The right solar power kit allows you to stay plugged in without the leash of the grid.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Micro-Influencer Marketing: A Comprehensive Guide

micro_influencer_marketing_compressed.jpg


What Is a Micro-Influencer?


Micro-influencers are social media users unlike typical celebrities, experts, or public figures. They're individuals who work or specialize in a particular vertical and frequently share social media content about their interests. Unlike traditional "influencers," micro-influencers have a more modest number of followers -- typically in the thousands or tens of thousands -- but they boast hyper-engaged audiences.

For example, a yoga influencer might boast millions of followers and operate several yoga studios. A yoga micro-influencer might have only a few thousand followers and post instructional videos on Instagram for their fans to try at home, but their average post receives a healthy amount of engagement relative to the size of their follower base.

The Value of Micro-Influencers


Using micro-influencers may seem counterintuitive. Why would you seek out someone with a smaller following to promote your brand?

There are several reasons to believe micro-influencers might get better results for your brand.

Micro-influencers have better engagement rates.


Markerly studied Instagram engagement and found a surprising trend: As an influencer's number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases.

In its analysis, Markerly determined the following:
Instagram users with fewer than 1,000 followers generated likes 8% of the time
Users with 1,000-10,000 followers earned likes at a 4% rate
Users with 10,000-100,000 followers achieved a 2.4% like rate
Users with 1-10 million followers earned likes only 1.7% of the time.

Check out Markerly's graphical breakdown of how likes and comments decline as followers increase:





Source: Markerly

Markerly recommends brands pursue micro-influencers with Instagram followings in the 1,000-10,000 range. With micro-influencers, brands can achieve higher engagement rates among a large enough audience. In a recent study, Experticity learned micro-influencers have 22.2X more conversations than the typical Instagram users -- largely because they're passionate and knowledgeable about their particular interest area.

Micro-influencers have more targeted audiences.


Markerly also notes that micro-influencers have more targeted follower bases than influencers with follower numbers in the hundreds of thousands and millions.

Think about it: If a clothing brand partnered with a celebrity with millions of followers on Instagram, the celebrity could reach their huge pool, but a large portion of them might not be interested in fashion. Instead, if the clothing brand connected with 100 fashion bloggers with 1,000 followers apiece, it would be able to connect to a smaller but far more targeted and engaged audience.

Markerly CEO and co-founder Sarah Ware told Digiday that partnering with the Kardashian and Jenner sisters to promote a weight-loss tea on Instagram led to a significant number of conversions. However, Ware also noted that working with 30-40 micro-influencers achieved a higher conversion rate than when the celebrities were promoting the tea. In fact, 82% of customers surveyed by Experticity said they would be very likely to follow a recommendation from a micro-influencer.

Micro-influencers are more affordable.


Micro-influencers are typically more affordable than celebrities or profiles with millions of followers. Celebrities sometimes charge up to $75,00 for a single Instagram post promoting a product. In contrast, 97% of micro-influencers on Instagram charge less than $500 for a promotion post. Granted, brands usually work with more than one micro-influencer to maximize reach, but even 100 micro-influencers would cost less than a single celebrity on Instagram at these rates.

For micro-influencers with smaller followings, brands may even be able to compensate them in the form of free products. According to Digiday, La Croix Sparkling Water (more on them below) sent a micro-influencer vouchers for free products instead.

Micro-influencers are more authentic.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Guest Post: The Era of Vintage Longines Watches



Vintage Longines watches started with the "Center-Pinions For Watch" patent Longines applied for in 1874. A couple years later, in 1876, Detrich started the Columbus Watch Manufacturing Company. By 1879 they were making about 10 watches per day. The success of Longines attracted new partners in 1882 and the company was reorganized into the Columbus Watch Company. Times were good for Gruan and his partners until the "Panic of 1893", a depression in today's terms. This depression combined with fierce competition from Walther and Elgin eventually led to the Longiness leaving in 1894 and the company finally failed in 1903. It has been noted that Fred Longines left Columbus around watch serial number 229,000 and the prior him leaving Columbus watches did not carry a name.

Ditrich Longines and his son Fredrick Longines started D. Longines and son in 1894 making high-quality watches. In 1911 they opened a watch factory in Cincinnati, Ohio called Time Hill and continued to grow until 1953. This year was the peak as it was the best sales year in Longines history. That same year the Longines family sold their interest and the president was forced out following a scandal. By 1958 the company, now called Longines Industries, had lost its direction, fell into severe legal issues, and amassed huge debts. To compensate it laid off employees and started selling off its properties, including the historic Time Hill. In 1976 the company finally went bankrupt and the Longines name was sold to M.Z. Berger. Although Longines brand watches are still produced today this pretty much ended the original era of Longines vintage watches.

During their reign Longines watches were some of the highest priced and prominent watches of their time. The UltraThin line with a platinum and diamond case sold for $1250 in 1929 (over $30,000 in today's dollars). Even the lower end watches in the SemiThin line sold for $25, this compared to cheap watches of the day selling for only $1. Some other notable watch lines include: The VeriThin (1904), the Cartouche (1921), the pentagon (1922), the Quadron (1925), and the Techni-Quadron (1928).

The VeriThin line of Longines vintage watches was introduced in 1904. Longines already was making watches of smaller size and now decided to move into the area of making them thin. The VeriThin did this by reducing the standard movement from having 4 layers of overlapping parts down to 3 layers. Although they were not the first to make thinner watches with this concept they were the first to do it with commercial success. These watches were about 7mm thick which is only about 2/3 the thickness of a comparably sized watch.

The UlltraThin line of watches took the VeriThin movement one step further by eliminating yet another layer in the movement. This reducing the operating layers to only two.

The Cartouche, as its name slightly implies, was a rectangle wrist watch with rounded corners. Released in 1921 it was designed as an elegant women's watch. The Cartouche used the first Longines movement specifically designed for wrist watches. There are over 500 different Cartouche models in the line.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Overcome the Challenges of Managing a Remote Agency








Agencies must remain agile and flexible, especially in their early months, to mitigate risk and enable swift allocation of budget to the most pertinent areas.

There’s a fine balance to be found during fast-growth stages, and the first year can be particularly volatile. Even after this stage, hustling in a competitive market is tough.

With fine margins and tight budgets, it’s difficult to commit to office contracts, competitive staff salary, team benefits, equipment, and the myriad of different overheads associated with operating a modern business: insurance, accounting, utilities, and more. The relentless pressure of competing and growing is ever-more profound when overheads and resourcing costs are added to the mix.

For some, the answer is to adopt remote working and flexible freelance contractors. This can alleviate the pressure, free up budget, and allow for a more creative strategy.However, it’s not necessarily a silver bullet. There are certainly challenges and obstacles associated with managing a remote agency team, not to mention the potential for hidden impact on company culture and productivity.

I’ve experienced the pros and cons first-hand with the growth of Kurve as my digital consultancy. In this article, I’ll talk about the issues that arose, and take you through ways to ensure the successful establishment of a happy, productive, and dedicated remote team.

The Challenges of a Remote Team


Managing a remote team has a variety of challenges. It’s most certainly not plain sailing, and may cause some headaches, especially at the beginning of your journey.

Let's start by taking a look at the main challenges I've faced in my own experiences running a remote agency:

Resourcing


In a nutshell, it’s difficult to find the right people. However, this is as much the case with full-time on-site staff as it is with remote executives. It’s impossible to know an individual’s inner struggles, habits, or attitudes from one solitary meeting. Likewise, a string of messages and a Skype call can never be satisfactory.

Inevitably, strengths and weaknesses become evident over time. As a remote employer, it’s imperative to be comfortable with providing space to make mistakes, as any full-time employee deserves.

6 Tips for Resourcing a Remote Team:

Do your research: Dig into the work history of the individual, ask for case studies of their previous roles, and do your due diligence checks before progressing. Here are some tips for screening potential candidates.



Embrace referrals: A referral from a friend, peer, or colleague somewhat mitigates risk.



Check testimonials: If hiring via sites like Upwork or PPH, thoroughly research ratings, reviews, and testimonials from recent clients.



Exploit social media: Innovative talent will use social media in innovative ways to seek job opportunities. Twitter and LinkedIn are the first ports of call.



Look local: A remote executive doesn’t necessarily need to be on the other side of the planet. Instead, they could be across the street. As a business owner, you can still advertise locally for team members.
Agree on terms: Will the remote worker be full-time or part-time? Do they have other clients? What’s the time balance? Set strict expectations for levels of work, depending on what suits your business.




Overall, you want to hire doers and team players. Self-driven, motivated, and smart people who can adapt and provide value over the long-term. There’s always an element of intuition and gut-feeling about whether or not to trust a hire, which still remains key to your decisions and cannot be ignored.

Productivity


Without exception, every member of your remote team should be self-motivated and independently proactive individuals. Without these qualities, productivity will suffer to great measure, and your agency's growth will be stunted.

6 Tips for Keeping your Remote Team Productive

Understand personalities: Ascertain what drives your team members to achieve. Some may require more encouragement and security than others. Some team members will benefit from incentive-driven objectives, whilst others get satisfaction from other areas.



Over-communicate: Setup clear communication procedures and regular calls, in order for your team members to stay in alignment on tasks and objectives. When you’re not sat in the same room all day, the mini-conversations that keep people on the same page are missing. Account for this gap by keeping comms regular.



Be flexible: The very fact that you’re attempting remote working would suggest flexibility isn’t an issue. It’s proven that different people have different productivity peaks. Embracing this approach will work, so long as the individuals are self-motivated. The tools mentioned in our ultimate list (below) will help you maintain structure and cohesiveness in alignment with your flexibility.



Set clear objectives: Individual team member objectives should contribute directly to business goals, alongside their own professional development. Communicate weekly, monthly, and yearly objectives, and ensure that team members understand the relevance of their task list in achieving these milestones.



Monitor progress: Output is paramount. As a business leader, you have a duty to track progress against goals. Furthermore, using a tool such as Harvest (among others mentioned below) will help to understand time spent against tasks. When paired with effective project management and communication, you can track progress against expectations.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

From the Phonograph to Spotify: The History of Streaming Music







From Napster to YouTube Music: The History of Internet Radio



Historians believe ancient humans created flute-like instruments as part of hunting rituals and primitive cultural gatherings. It’s estimated that this earliest form dates back about 35,000 years.

From there, live music progressed through ancient Greece, where it was an essential part of different celebrations and life events, like weddings, religious ceremonies, and funerals. It’s said that the Greeks of this era were responsible for inventing many of the fundamental elements we use to compose music today, like octaves, as well as terms like “scale” and “diatonic.” Much of that was built upon in ancient Rome, where the Greek fondness of attending and spectating at live events in amphitheater-like settings was shared.

People began recording music by hand -- that is, what we today think of as sheet music. Before the sound itself could be captured mechanically, written instructions existed on how to reproduce pieces of music that were previously played. Some estimate that this practice dates back to the Babylonian era, between 1250-1200 B.C.

But many scholars say that our modern traditions of live music truly began in the European middle ages, when churches served as venues for what could be deemed live performance. Sacred melodies like Gregorian chants and the growing presence of pipe organs in houses of worship paved the way for classical composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, whose earliest work was often written and performed in churches.

Eventually, there was a desire or idea to consume music outside of a venue, and to be able to hear it without someone else performing it in front of an audience. That’s where an inventor -- who you might have heard of -- comes in: Thomas Edison.

Records



Surprisingly, Edison didn’t set out to create the phonograph as a way of consuming music. Rather, its 1877 invention was more of an expansion upon his earlier work on the telegraph (invented by Samuel Morse) and the telephone (invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Antonio Meucci). He thought that a spoken message -- like a verbal version of a telegraph, but recorded -- could be captured and reproduced. As it turns out, it worked, which he found out after testing a rhyme on the earliest prototype.

But when Edison published “The Phonograph and Its Future” in an 1878 issue of the North American Review, he hypothesized, “The phonograph will undoubtedly be liberally devoted to music. A song sung on the phonograph is reproduced with marvelous accuracy and power."

He was right. Within a year, “pre-recorded cylinders” -- what we know as records -- were being sold, and as they became more popular, their manufacturing was improving for multiple plays until they were finally made in vinyl -- though that format wasn’t available until after World War II.

But not long after these were available for sale -- around the 1890s -- phonograph parlors were established, were patrons could pay a nickel to listen to a recording. It was a precursor to both the record store and the juke box, and could be called a milestone in the evolution of music consumption.

The Record Store


Spillers, a record store in Cardiff, U.K., claims to be “the oldest record shop in the world.” It was founded in 1894, within the era of phonograph parlors, for the “sale of phonographs, wax phonograph cylinders and shellac phonograph discs.” The store still exists, but has since relocated. The oldest U.S. record store, Pennsylvania-based Bernie George’s Song Shop, was established in 1932, and also continues to thrive -- it even now boasts two locations.

Some speculate that musical recordings came second to a song’s sheet music. In Vinylmint’s written history of the industry, it’s said that “the music business was dominated not by major record labels, but by song publishers and big vaudeville and theater concerns.” People wanted to reproduce the music to play it themselves, it seems, and listening to a recording of it was almost a consolation prize. But as the record technology improved -- and the stores selling them grew in number -- they became more popular.

Vinylmint also claims that the contemporary practice of signing artists to labels began in 1904, when an opera singer named Enrico Caruso signed with Victor -- today known as RCA, a subsidiary of Sony. The roots of Victor are fuzzy at best, but according to The Fabulous Phonograph, it was founded in 1903 as the Victor Talking Machine Company. But Caruso’s signing was a precursor to the Copyright Act of 1909 that required record sale royalties to be paid to the writers and publishers of songs, but not to the people who performed them. Perhaps it had something to do with the $5 million in sales that Caruso earned for Victor.