Google+

Celebrating World Book Day: Widening Participation's Boys, Books and Blogging project – QMUL (press release) (blog)


QMUL (press release) (blog)

Celebrating World Book Day: Widening Participation's Boys, Books and Blogging project
QMUL (press release) (blog)
This has led me to develop the Boys, Books and Blogging (BBB) programme. For ten weeks from November to February, three Queen Mary students and I met with nine Year 10 boys at Eastbury Community School in Barking and Dagenham, the 12th most deprived

Continue reading

4 Ways To Give Your Bank Account A Makeover After Your Crazy Summer

Summer is the time to live it up.

You know, eating tacos and drinking margaritas like there was a shortage, taking Ubershome on late nights out and barely pulling enough cash together to split an Airbnb for a weekend getaway with your buds.

Seriously, summer eats up all of your money. And even though it was all probably worth it, damage control is necessary by the time fall rolls around.

Of course, this doesnt mean youll have to cut back on having fun. It just means you have togive your bank account some well deserved TLC.

Heres are four easy ways you can give your money a makeover this fall, and still have enough cash at the end of the year to buy all your friends and fam some gifts for the holidays:

1. Live below your means.

Im sure youve heard this vague piece of advice before, but what does living below your means ACTUALLY entail?

Your means is your income. Living below it means thatyour monthly expenses are well below the amount you take home each month.

For example, if you take home $2,500 a month from your job, living below your means would be only spending $2,000 on living costs, while the extra $500 goes toward saving and investing.

This is easiest to do when you pay yourself first.

That means the second you get your paycheck, a percentage of it should automatically go to your savings account, student loans and/or investment accounts. Heres a great resource on setting up automatic savings.

After months and months of consistency with paying yourself first, youll actually see your accounts start to grow and regularly have money in them. What a nice feeling!

Ideally, you should aim for 15 to 20 percent. You might think you dont even have enough room in your budget for that, but Im telling you, you do.

For example, this year I took a hard look at my spending history in Mint, my favorite money managing app, to see where my money had gone.

I figured out that for the first two years I lived in NYC, I spent $4,000 on cabs and Ubers.

$4,000!

Taking fewer cabs was an obvious area I could cut back spending without sacrificing the quality of my life.

Once I stopped spending so much on transportation (this was on top of the $117 monthly MetroCard I use), I had lots of free cash to put toward saving and investing.

Having money feels good.And if you dont really know what thats like to save and see the results of effective saving, its never too late to start.

You can always use a tool like Fidelitys Budget Checkup to figure out the best way to tweak where your money is going.


2. Get your tax break.

Taxes suck, but we all have to pay them.

Theres actually a legal way for you to lower the amount of taxes taken out of your paycheck each month, and thats by upping your contributions to a retirement account like a 401(k) or another tax-advantaged account.

Heres why this works: Taxes are taken out on the income that comes home with youafteryour contributions to a 401(k). So the more you put toward that account, the fewer taxes you have to pay.

Even though you cant really touch the money in a tax-advantaged account until youre of retirement age, its stillyour money, not the governments.

Over time, you end up saving more by contributing more and also having fewer taxes taken out of your income.

In 2016, the most you can contribute to a 401(k) is $18,000 per year. You still have four more months to get your tax break before the end of the year!

So, if you dont have a tax-advantaged account set up, get on it. You dont have to contribute the max, even just a couple hundred dollars can make a massive difference.


3. Put your everyday spending to work.

You guys, Im telling you, if you dont have a rewards credit card, youre missing out.

You can collect points toward fun stuff like vacations and earn cash-back on everyday expenses like gas and groceries. Theres a card out there for every type of reward you can possibly think of.

Im personally obsessed with my United Mileage Plus card. Ive been collecting points on that baby for three years, and Ive been able to take a free round-trip flight once a year.

Not sure where to start looking for cards? Check out Nerdwallet. They have a great feature for comparing different types of credit cards.

Do not fear the credit card. Just make sure you pay it in full every month, and thats literally the only credit card rule you really need to stick to.


4. Create a saving, spending and investing formula that works for you.

Money is emotional. Everyones financial goals are different, but a having a saving and spending formula is the only way to make spending and saving habits stick.

You need to make money management simple and easy for yourself.

Not sure how to create a formula? Fidelity has an awesome one for spending, investing and saving, for example.

Their system is50 percent of your income goes toward essential living expenses, like rent, food and bills.

Then, 15 percent goes toward retirement and long-term investing.

Five percent should go toward short-term savings, like an emergency fund.

The last 30 percent? Do what you want with it based on whats most important to you.

That actually doesnt sound so bad.

These four ways to makeover your money are really necessary to do at SOME point in life, not just this fall.

Once you have a formula, a better sense of where your spending is going and regular contributions to savings, investment and retirement accounts, youll really be set for life.

After that, it doesnt take much effort to keep it going. You just have to make sure you keep your steady income.

Im telling you, start now. And next summer, youll have even more money to spend on fun stuff like tacos, margaritas and Ubers.

Continue reading

Killer Ways To Beat Boredom In Life's Dull Moments – Shout Out UK


Shout Out UK

Killer Ways To Beat Boredom In Life's Dull Moments
Shout Out UK
… and you don't feel like watching TV all night. You could start a blog to run from home in your spare time. It's really easy to set up, and if you don't want to put funding into it there are completely free options too. There's no limit on what you

Continue reading

It's (semi) official: Dez caught it – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

It's (semi) official: Dez caught it
Blogging The Boys (blog)
When even John Mara is on board, it isn't just sour grapes by Cowboys fans anymore. By Tom Ryle@TomRyleBTB Feb 27, 2018, 5:30pm CST. Share Tweet Share. Share It's (semi) official: Dez caught it. tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email. It was an

Continue reading

Cardi B wants fans to respect strippers, stop judging them

Cardi B isn’t shy about her pole-dancing past.

The rapper, who has been open about her previous career as a stripper, told Cosmopolitan on Tuesday she’s hoping her own rise to fame will encourage others to respect strippers.

“People say, ‘Why do you always got to say that you used to be a stripper? We get it,’” explained the 25-year-old. “Because y’all don’t respect me because of it, and y’all going to respect these strippers from now on… Just because somebody was a stripper don’t mean they don’t have no brain.”

Before Cardi B found instant fame with her hit track “Bodak Yellow,” the singer worked as a stripper in New York City at age 19 after she was fired from her previous job as a cashier.

Cardi B previously told Vibe that through stripping, she was able to earn enough money to become financially independent and move out of her abusive boyfriend’s home.

Time Magazine added that while working as a stripper, Cardi B created a social media following where she candidly discussed men, sex and money on multiple viral videos. She eventually quit stripping to make money hosting club events as an Instagram influencer.

And now that she’s a celebrity, Cardi B insisted she refuses to change her personality for anyone.

“Everybody got different beliefs and different religions and were raised differently, yet you also supposed to be careful you don’t offend somebody,” said Cardi B. “Everybody gets bothered about everything. Everybody got a f—ing opinion about you. If I change myself, then I’m going to lose myself, and I won’t be who makes me happy.”

And that’s not the only thing Cardi B has been candid about these days. She also told the magazine that despite allegations of her fiancé, rapper Offset of hip hop trio Migos, cheating on her, Cardi B is still staying by her beau’s side.

“It’s like everybody is coming down my neck like, ‘Why are you not leaving him? You have low self-esteem,’” she said. “I don’t have low self-esteem… I know I look good. I know I’m rich, I know I’m talented. I know I could get any man I want – any basketball player, football player.

“But I want to work out my s— with my man, and I don’t got to explain why. I’m not your property. This is my life… I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to decide on my decision… It’s not right, what he f—ing did – but people don’t know what I did, ‘cause I ain’t no angel.”

Cardi B’s April 2018 cover for Cosmopolitan hits newsstands March 6.

Continue reading

Sky News faces uncertain future

Image copyright Getty Images

Walt Disney’s agreement to buy most of 21st Century Fox’s business for $52.4bn (£39bn) has raised further questions about the Sky News channel’s future.

Before news of the deal, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox had been trying to buy the 61% of satellite broadcaster Sky that it does not yet own.

That attempt attracted the scrutiny of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is investigating it.

But of all the channels that Sky has in its portfolio, including sports and movies, it is the ownership of its news channel that raises the most difficulties.

Last month, Sky sent shivers down the spines of Sky News journalists by threatening to close the channel if it proved to be an obstacle in Mr Murdoch’s takeover bid.

Now it seems that Sky News could fall into Disney’s hands as a result of this latest piece of corporate wheeler-dealing.

After all, Fox’s efforts to take over Sky become less politically sensitive if the Murdoch family’s existing 39% stake in Sky has been sold to Disney, making it more likely that the takeover will go ahead.

Heavy losses

So now the question is: will Disney want to keep pumping money into a loss-making news channel that serves only the relatively small UK market?

Claire Enders, founder of research firm Enders Analysis, points out that we may not know the answer to that for another 18 months, since the Disney-Fox deal will itself have to clear regulatory hurdles and is likely to come under close scrutiny from EU competition authorities.

Image copyright Getty Images

However, she is sceptical about Sky News’s ultimate fate.

She told the BBC: “Inherently, Disney is not a company that engages in political investment. It runs businesses that make profits and that’s one of the reasons why it’s thought of as one of the best companies in the world.

“Sky News loses £40m a year and has absorbed $1bn of investment. It’s very hard to make money out of news in a small market like the UK.”

Media plurality

Former ITN chief executive Stewart Purvis, who is also a former senior executive at regulator Ofcom, is less pessimistic about the channel’s future.

He points out that there are a number of issues to consider, including the possibility that Disney might not wish to go ahead with acquiring the remaining 61% of Sky, even if the CMA approved it.

In fact, the UK’s Takeover Panel says Disney has told it that if Mr Murdoch fails to buy the rest of Sky before the Fox takeover deal goes through, it will not feel obliged to make a full bid for the satellite broadcaster.

Mr Purvis adds that it would be “slightly perverse” if Sky News were closed down over concerns that the various deals would lead to an unreasonable concentration of media power, because its absence “would actually reduce media plurality”.

After all, the outcome would be to leave the BBC News channel unchallenged as the only dedicated UK television news service.

However, he adds: “I’ve never found Disney to be very interested in news. It’s an entertainment company and maybe being in news is more trouble than it’s worth.”

Political kudos

Disney owns the ABC television network in the US, which includes its news service.

But as Mr Purvis says, ABC News is safe because it makes money.

“The way that networks look at their news programmes is that they look at the cost compared with advertising revenues within those programmes,” he says.

“By that measure, ABC News is profitable. Good Morning America is the leading breakfast programme in the US. There’s no way Disney would shut that down.”

Sky News, of course, does not enjoy that kind of status. But Mr Purvis says Disney would have to balance that against other factors, including the “political kudos” that owning Sky News would give it in the UK.

“We don’t know the outcome of that kind of consideration,” he says.

News loses?

In the US, analysts are concerned that Disney’s existing news interests might suffer from the merger, let alone Sky News.

“I would not look to the Disney-Fox merger to bolster the fourth estate,” Ben Gomes-Casseres of the Brandeis International Business School told the Washington Post.

“Whether ABC News will be affected in this way, as a side-effect, is also anyone’s guess, but there is no doubt that ABC as a TV channel will decrease in importance in the Disney group.”

For the moment, Disney is taking a positive attitude towards Sky News.

Disney chairman and chief executive Bob Iger was asked on Bloomberg TV whether the channel had a future after his company completed the Fox deal.

He replied: “Absolutely. All of Sky has a future.”

Cynics might reply that at this stage in the proceedings, he could hardly say he was going to close the channel. But if he does so once the deal has gone through, he may find that his assurance will come back to haunt him.

Continue reading

This fashion influencer reveals how she makes money and how she decides what to post on Instagram – ABC News


ABC News

This fashion influencer reveals how she makes money and how she decides what to post on Instagram
ABC News
Bernstein dropped out of the Fashion Institute of Technology to pursue building her brand. "I was blogging more than I was paying attention in class. I was like 'OK, I need to try and make this a real business,'" she said. She took two semesters off

Continue reading

Nathan Cunningham – Blogging Dirty (blog)


Blogging Dirty (blog)

Nathan Cunningham
Blogging Dirty (blog)
A graduate from BYU's school of communications, Nate the site expert of Lawless Republic. He likes colorful jerseys and pull-up fast break 3-pointers. Atlanta Falcons logo Expert. twitterrss. Falcons News 11m. Julio Jones Fan Gift Guide. by Nathan

Continue reading

Closed Shorts, Good Defense Carry S&P 500 to Best Week Since 15

Every precaution taken against disaster by U.S. investors in 2016 was on display in the stock market this week.

Short sales that earlier reached the highest level since the financial crisis were covered, while bearish options bets were closed. Meanwhile defensive industries such as consumer staples and utilities powered the S&P 500 Index to its best week in seven months. When it was over, the two-day trauma that followed U.K. voters decision to secede from the European Union was all but erased.

The S&P 500 surged 3.2 percent to 2,102.95, including three consecutive daily gains of more than one percent, something thats happened only two other times since October 2011. At Fridays close, the index was less than half a percent from its level before the U.K. referendum.

There was a two-day period where people were freaking out, but at the end of the day, people did hedge going in, Pravit Chintawongvanich, head derivatives strategist at Macro Risk Advisors, said by phone. The fact that people were aware that this could happen, that limited the severity of the initial sell off.

Evidence that short covering helped fuel the subsequent advance was visible in the performance of a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. basket of shares with the most bearish bets. The index surged 5.2 percent on the rallys second day, the most since 2009. Traders said a decline in the CBOE Volatility Index on Monday, when the market fell almost 2 percent, signaled investors cashed in on Brexit hedges. VIX futures volume had surged 40 percent in the days leading up to the vote.

The precautions led to a wild ride on the VIX. After the option-derived measure of stress surged 49 percent the day after the referendum, it posted the biggest weekly decline in history. The VIX and the S&P 500, which move in opposite directions 80 percent of the time, on Monday fell together by the biggest degree since August.

The move out of Brexit, people were a little bit more prepared for than they were last fall when Chinas devaluation rocked the market, Russell Rhoads, director of education for CBOEs options institution, said on Monday. You do have people with positions in place that theyre ready to take off. With people taking off the long put options, its pushing down implied volatility and resulting in a lower VIX.

Automated funds emerged as big winners. CTAs headed into the referendum with bearish bets on U.S. equities, allowing them to make money amid the turbulence, Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, global market strategist in the multi-asset allocation team of JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote in a note Friday. The funds quickly reversed to a long position, adding to their gains and in turn fueling the equity rally, Panigirtzoglou said.

While every industry in the S&P 500 rose over the five days, gains were dominated by industries least-tied to economic growth: health-care, utilities and phone companies rallied at least 4 percent. At price-earnings ratios of 23 for staples and 19.7 for utilities, both groups are more expensive than the benchmark and at least 20 percent above their five-year averages.

The buoyancy from U.S. stocks helped investors avoid the fate of past corrections induced by overseas concerns. While some analysts predicted a repeat of the August rout, central banks commitment to help markets navigate the turbulence lifted equities. The vote led traders to push back the expected timing for higher interest rates, and better-than-forecast data reinforced optimism that the economy will continue to expand.

The market is basically signaling that while Brexit is important, theres a sense that Europe isnt on the brink of falling apart, Matthew Kaufler, a portfolio manager with Federated Investors Inc. who oversees funds with about $2 billion assets, said by phone. Thats emboldened investors to get back in after the initial drop.

Health-care stocks were among the biggest gainers, with a 4 percent rally that was the best since March 2015. Endo International Plc, the groups worst performer in the two days after Brexit, ended the week 14 percent higher for the biggest gain.

Deal activity added to the rise. Mondelez International Inc.s $23 billion bid for Hershey Co. Thursday lifted the chocolate maker to the best performance among consumer-staple stocks even after it rebuffed the bid. The end of the second quarter on Thursday also spurred investors back into the market, Chintawongvanich said.

People panicked and sold at the lows, thinking it would get worse, but it didnt. The quarter-end came and people said, we cant not get involved, he said. That added to the rally over the last couple days, especially as they thought, well if this is nothing and central banks are going to help us, we cant not participate as we near highs.

Continue reading

3 pillars of the most successful tech products

If youve started a tech company to make a lot of money, chances are youre bad at math or simply delusional. Statistically speaking, your odds of a big-time payday are somewhere between zero and almost zero.

Ninety-two percent of startups fail within three years. Only1 percent of the appsin the Apple App Store are financially successful. And even for the fortunate few companies that raise venture funding,75 percent will fail to generate a returnon investors capital.

Perhaps the hardest part about running a new business is knowing what to prioritize. There are hundreds of decisions to make, and keeping sight of whats important and whats not is a constant challenge. But when it comes to helping teams stay focused, I have found one model to be extremely useful: Its called the GEM framework. The origin story of the framework is uncertain, but Ive heard a similar modelwas first used during the early days of LinkedIn.

A companys job is to find a sustainable way to deliver value to customers, employees and shareholders. To do this, the company must never lose sight of its GEM: growth, engagement and monetization.

Growth

Growth is all about how a company finds new users or customers. Fundamentally, its about getting the right message in front of people who need what you have. I call these messages external triggers. External triggers are delivered through various channels, including television commercials, salespeople, emails or word of mouth.

Some external triggers, like one satisfied customer telling another about your product, cost you nothing. Others, like running ads on Google or buying billboards along the highway, can cost big bucks.

Its important to recognize that growth is a process and a practice, not an end state.

Theres nothing inherently better or worse about one external trigger versus another. What matters is whether the trigger fits your business. Viral growth is wonderful, but difficult to engineer and sustain. Meanwhile, buying media can produce a steady stream of customer interest, but can be expensive. The growth question to answer is: Are we getting better at drawing the attention of people who need our product? Quantifying the answer to that question means tracking the number of new users or customers over time, as well as the cost of earning their attention.

Its important to recognize that growth is a process and a practice, not an end state. Companies satisfied with their growth strategy are at risk of losing customers to their competitors. The growth hackers I know manically look for new channels and relentlessly test how many potential customers can be found and for what cost.

Growth question:Are we getting better at drawing the attention of people who need our product?
Growth metric:Number of new users or customers, and the cost of finding them.

Engagement

With some products and services, customer engagement is naturally infrequent think of the way people buy real estate or book vacation travel. Other businesses require constant, habitual engagement to survive. Apps like Facebook, Slack, Salesforce and Snapchat need to becomea habit, or else they go out of business. If the service isnt used often, these products become less useful, and eventually customers never return.

Retaining customers means keeping them engaged, whether theyre checking in on an app or checking out of a purchase. Some businesses depend on repeat customer engagement more than others. But most critical for investors, founders and employees is to understand what brings people back.

To track engagement, companies should calculate the percentage of people using their product or service frequently enough to be classified as retained. For some products its once a year, for others its once an hour. The question Are we getting better at engaging people who need our product? is answered by calculating the growth in the percentage of retained customers.

Engagement question:Are we getting better at engaging people who need our product?
Engagement metric:Percentage of retained users or customers.

Monetization

Finally, companies need to turn some of the value they create into cash or they go out of business. There are many ways to capture value. Companies can charge a subscription fee, sell a one-time purchase or create marketplaces where they take a share of the transaction between buyers and sellers.

When it comes to monetization, the most crucial question is: Are we getting better at capturing the value we create? The metric here is profits. But its essential not only to ask how the company is doing today, but also to understand how much untapped demand exists for the product. This is the only way to predict whether a company will be sustainable in the near term and to make bets on how big the company can get in the future.

This is where people get lucky with startups. While skill, diligence and process drive user growth and product engagement, predicting future markets is notoriously tough so much so that being smart can actually be a disadvantage.

Without a big unseen market and a way to hold on to it, future profits are no sure thing.

Smart people tend to try to predict future markets by reading industry reports, designing models and running numbers. However, with access to similar information, people tend to come to similar conclusions. Thats why being right isnt enough. Paradoxically, if you are right and everyone agrees with you, competitors will see the opportunity too, enter the market and eat away at your profits.

Therefore, when it comes to monetization over the long term, theres only one way to achieve it: Youve go to see a future market others dont. Next, if you can spot the big untapped market on the horizon, youve got to, as Warren Buffettadvises, protect it with unbreachable moats.There are only five ways todefend your marketfrom competitors: economies of scale, network effects, regulatory protection, brand and habit.

Without a big unseen market and a way to hold on to it, future profits are no sure thing.

Monetization question:Are we getting better at capturing the value we create?
Monetization metric:Profit.

A necessary trinity

Growth, engagement and monetization are interlinked, and each is insufficient on its own.

The most highly engaging, habit-forming product will fail if its used only by a small number of people who pay too little for the service. The overwhelming majority of apps in the App Store are never found by a critical mass because the companies behind them have failed to find a way to profitably draw users attention.

Similarly, an amazing growth strategy using the latest viral hacks is pointless without a way to retain and profit from the growth. Viddy, the video-sharing service and Snapchat predecessor, shocked Silicon Valley in the spring of 2012 by acquiring nearly three million users in a month. But shortly after investors ploughed $30 million into the company, it became clear the app was a leaky bucket that could not retain its users.

Finally, huge market potential is useless without a way to profitably reach and engage customers. For example, music-streaming services like Spotify and Pandora are a daily habit for millions of people, but if song owners manage to extract all the value by imposing stricter copyright terms, they have the power to destroy the streaming services.

Of course, businesses have to worry about all sorts of other things (see Alex OsterwaldersBusiness Model Canvasfor a more detailed analysis). But thinking through the GEM framework is extremely effective for keeping teams on track.

AsTomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, told me, these three criteria help make sure the team is allocating resources correctly. When it comes to monitoring and regularly communicating what matters, the GEM framework is precious.

Continue reading
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright Notice | Anti Spam Policy | Earnings Disclaimer | Health Disclaimers | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy