Archiv für den Monat November 2013

How writing about your own industry makes You an Irresistible Job Candidate

How writing about your own industry makes You an Irresistible Job Candidate?

By Alexis Grant
When it comes to standing out online, your best bet is to offer your own original content. Blog posts or tweets that revolve around your unique ideas will make you a standout candidate.

But the truth is, not everyone has the time, writing ability or even confidence to grow a quality blog or social media account, and plenty of people who don’t have a blog still want to move up the career ladder, into more challenging and better-paying positions.

What if there was a way to show the world just how smart you are, without creating your own content?

Well, there is, and it’s a tactic you should seriously consider: sharing other people’s content.

Whether you curate on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr or all of the above, here are five things sharing content created by others says about you — and why it can move your career forward.

1. You know your industry inside and out.

When you share an abundance of interesting information, people begin to realize you know your stuff. Not only do you know what’s going on, but you understand what’s valuable to people in your industry and what they want to read, which is just as important.

Even if you don’t consider yourself highly knowledgeable on a certain topic — if, for example, you’re looking to change careers and are using your online presence to pivot — you’ll become knowledgeable on that topic as you sift through blogs and tweets looking for quality information to share. In other words, curating content can help you become an authority in your field and help others see you as an authority.

2. You’re innovative.

Not only do you use the latest social tools to share advice and ideas, the information you share is often about your industry’s latest trends and developments, which suggests you’re forward thinking.

Anyone can say in an interview that they like to follow tech trends, but serving your community as a content curator shows the hiring manager you’re serious about learning, brainstorming and innovating.

3. You enjoy helping others.

So many people talk about themselves on social media. You’ll stand out if you get off the soapbox and instead offer helpful, valuable information, giving props to whoever created it.

This is helpful not only to the minions who read your tweets, but also to the industry leaders who wrote the blog post, tweets or updates to begin with, since you’re helping spread their content and ideas. Those thought leaders will likely appreciate your efforts and might even look to connect further with you, which could lead to more opportunities.

See why being generous online is one of the best things you can do for yourself?

4. You’re familiar with the big (and little) players in your field.

Knowing who the thought-leaders are in your field and where they hang out is just as important — if not more — than being in-the-know about innovative developments. Why? Because those people likely are part of those developing trends, or at least talking about them. In many ways, they are the trends.

In their book The Startup of You, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha wrote, “If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for people.” Knowing who’s doing what in your industry can go a long way toward helping you take the next step in your career. Curating content is a solid way to keep up with what everyone’s doing.

5. In some cases, you have access to those industry players.

Know what every employer wants more than an awesome, skilled employee? An awesome, skilled employee who knows people. Every one of your connections means a connection for your company.

If you don’t know any of the major players in your industry now, look to create those connections through sharing other people’s content. Your generosity could lead to online conversations with those people as they leave comments on your blog posts or reply to you through Twitter. Really want to get on their radar? Try an email introduction after you’ve mentioned that contact on your blog or Twitter, with the hope that they’ll recognize your name.

If you’re keen to give this a go, you’re probably wondering: What’s the best way to find quality information to share with your growing online community?

Try using an RSS tool like Feedly, organizing tweeps who share valuable information into Twitter lists, and streamlining the sharing process with apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Twitterfeed. Before you know it, you’ll be the one who people in your industry turn to for all the best information, which makes you that much more marketable.

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How The Best CEOs Handle Email

Rule one: You don’t have to respond to everything.

November 07, 2013

If you’re like most people, you feel overwhelmed and frustrated by the amount of email you receive. You would rather spend time on high-impact projects instead of digging through your inbox.

But as we advance in our creative careers and add responsibility to our jobs, the amount of email (and texts, and calls, and meeting invites) we receive is likely only to increase. Getting on top of your communications—and staying ahead—requires subtle, yet important shifts in your mindset and strategies.

If you don’t have the time to complete your essential job functions, answering miscellaneous emails needs to fall off your to-do list.

Mainly, those who feel overwhelmed by email usually work from the assumption that if someone sends them something, they absolutely must read it and respond. However, effective people tackle email differently. Here’s how:

They always add value.

Before you send a reply, ask yourself: are you responding just to reply, to show you’re paying attention, or just to say “thanks?” If so, you’re typically wasting time that could be spent producing something of value and only encouraging people to respond, thus adding more email to your inbox.

They prioritize replies.

Give yourself freedom to delete messages that don’t require a response and/or from strangers. If you don’t have the time to complete your essential job functions, answering miscellaneous emails needs to fall off your to-do list. This saves you time by avoiding typing up the reply and reclaiming the mental space it takes to think about how to respond to random messages where the appropriate answer is unclear.

They save articles and videos for later.

From a video to a podcast to a survey, effective people know that a quick run through your inbox can turn into an hour or more lost productivity if you start following email rabbit holes. Put a time limit on how long you can spend going through your email. (Many of my clients set an alarm.) Wait to watch videos, read that article, or do other learning until you have some time set aside for such activities by keeping a “to watch/read” later list or folder or by using a service like Pocket. When you are in your inbox, you should only be doing one thing: answering emails.

They aim for a 24-hour turnaround.

If you reply within about 24 hours, you’re still being professional and many issues get sorted out without you. Recognize when the pressure to reply is real and required for things to get done, and when it is all in your head to “appear” responsive. Your career will be made on your ability to get things done, not your ability to answer emails immediately.

They use standard responses.

Text expanders are tremendously useful tools that you can use to quickly reply to emails that need a simple standard response (some text expanders for OSX are available here, here, and here). Text expanders, which are simple to use and inexpensive, allow you to type a two- or three-letter abbreviation that will expand to phrases like “Thanks! All the best, Elizabeth” or “I’ll take a look at the material and get back to you soon. Regards, Elizabeth.” You can also have entire paragraphs of text show up for commonly needed responses. This can cut down answering time from minutes to seconds.

They make answering tough emails an item on their to-do list.

Most of us work best when focusing on a single task for 45 minutes at a time and taking a short break afterward. For those emails that really do need you to reply but require some extra time, make them into a to-do item for later in the day. That way, you can quickly clean out your inbox (focusing on a single task) and then later come back to the messages that need 20 minutes or more for a thoughtful reply (again, a single task).

When possible, they bypass email all together.

If you find that the response would end up being too long by email, pop over to someone’s desk for a face-to-face chat or give them a call. A five-minute conversation can straighten out an issue that could have led to an extended email debate that would have disrupted an entire day. Particularly when emotions, miscommunication, and/or complex coordination are involved, consider transferring the discussion from email to another mode of discourse.

This article was originally published on

Netherlands Based Scientific Impala For iPhone Identifies Your Photos Using Artificial Intelligence

A new mobile application called Impala is picking up where Everpix left off, in terms of automatically categorizing your photo collections using computer vision technology. Once installed, the app works its way through your entire photo library on your iPhone, sorting photos into various categories like “outdoor,” “architecture,” “food,” “party life,” “friends,” “sunsets,” and more. But there’s a key difference between what Impala does and how Everpix worked. Impala’s mobile app has no server-side component – that is, your photos aren’t stored in the cloud. The software that handles the photo classification runs entirely on your device instead.

Impala is not a polished and professional app like Everpix was, of course, and photo classification is its only trick, while Everpix did much more. But its classification capabilities aren’t terrible. In tests, it ran through thousands of my iPhone photos over the course of some 20 minutes or so, placing photos into various albums, some more accurate than others. For example, it did well as gathering all the “food” and “beach” photos, and could easily tell the difference between “men,” “women,” and “children,” but it classified some beach scenes as “mountains,” and photos of my dog under “cats.”

screen568x568 (3)But that latter one is by design, laughs Harro Stokman, Impala’s creator and CEO at Euvision Technologies, which develops the software. “We don’t like dogs,” he says.

The app, in its present form, is not meant to be a standalone business at this time, but more of an example of the technological capabilities of the company’s software.

Euvision Technologies, Stokman explains, was spun out from the University of Amsterdam where he earned his PhD in computer vision. The technology that makes Impala possible has been in development for over 10 years, he tells us.  Today, many of Euvision eight-person team also work at the university, which owns a 15% stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Euvision has the rights to commercialize the technology, but doesn’t have outside funding. Instead, it licenses its software, which until today was only available as a server technology used by nearly a dozen clients ranging from the Netherlands police department (for tracking down child abuse photos), to a large social media website, which uses the technology for photo moderation on its network.

By putting Impala out there on the App Store, the hope is now to introduce the technology to even more potential licensing customers.

Stokman notes that the mobile version is not as accurate as the company’s core product, though. But it’s still a technological feat in and of itself. “We don’t have venture capital, so we couldn’t afford paying for the bandwidth and for the compute power,” he explains as to why there’s no cloud component. “We were forced to think of something that could run on the mobile phone.”

screen568x568 (4)That’s especially interesting in light of Everpix’s recent shut down of its photo storage and sharing platform this week. At the time, one of the reasons the company cited was the high cost involved with hosting user photos on Amazon Web Services. An unsustainable cost, as it turned out.

Impala ditches the idea of using the cloud, and instead worked to compress its software to be under 100 MB in size, down from the 600 MB it was when they first began working on the app. “The memory the software needs that stores the models that allow us to recognize babies from cars from friends and so on took the most work to compress down,” admits Stokman.

Like other image classification systems, Impala uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to “see” what’s in the photo. The system is trained using thousands of images from clients and elsewhere on the web, including both those that are like the category (e.g. “sunsets” or “indoor,” etc.) that are being taught, as well as those that are different.

To make the system run on mobile, the company had to create a stripped-down version of its classification engine. When it runs on a server, for comparison’s sake, it takes four times as much compute power. “The more compute power, the more memory, the better the results,” Stokman says.

photoIn other words, the resulting albums in Impala may be hit or miss, as the case may be. And the app is fairly basic, too. After it runs through your photos, you can tap a button to save the images to your iPhone’s photo gallery. Each album also has a section where photos it wasn’t sure of are listed, but there’s not currently a way to manually approve or re-organize these items by moving them elsewhere.

As for the dogs that get listed as cats? It’s nothing personal, it’s just that the Impala engineers are more cat people. “We don’t like dogs, so we didn’t put the category in there,” jokes Stokman. “You can take pictures of dogs, and it won’t recognize them as dogs. It will be cats,” he says.

If the app takes off, that’s something that may change with future improvements over time. For now, the company is working on its next creation: a camera app that can instantly identify 1,000 objects – like sunglasses or keyboards, for example – as you shoot. They’ll be submitting it in a contest at an upcoming conference, and may consider integrating that technology into Impala at some later date.

Impala for iOS is a free download here.

Amsterdam-based Euvision Technolgoies, co-founded by Prof. Arnold Smeulders, Ph. D., M.Sc., is bootstrapped with investment from Stokman and Chief Commercial Officer, Jan Willem F. Klerkx, M.Sc.


Thorium – This Radioactive Element Could Power the Planet

If your car was powered by thorium, you would never need to refuel it. The vehicle would burn out long before the chemical did. The thorium would last so long, in fact, it would probably outlive you.

That’s why a company called Laser Power Systems has created a concept for a thorium-powered car engine. The element is radioactive, and the team uses bits of it to build a laserbeam that heats water, produces steam, and powers an energy-producing turbine.

Thorium is one of the most dense materials on the planet. A small sample of it packs 20 million times more energy than a similarly-sized sample of coal, making it an ideal energy source.

The thing is, Dr. Charles Stevens, the CEO of Laser Power Systems, told Mashable that thorium engines won’t be in cars anytime soon.

„Cars are not our primary interest,“ Stevens said. „The automakers don’t want to buy them.“

He said too much of the automobile industry is focused on making money off of gas engines, and it will take at least a couple decades for thorium technology to be used enough in other industries that vehicle manufacturers will begin to consider revamping the way they think about engines.

„We’re building this to power the rest of the world,“ Stevens said. He believes a thorium turbine about the size of an air conditioning unit could more provide cheap power for whole restaurants, hotels, office buildings, even small towns in areas of the world without electricity. At some point, thorium could power individual homes.

Stevens understands that people may be wary of Thorium because it is radioactive — but any such worry would be unfounded.

„The radiation that we develop off of one of these things can be shielded by a single sheet off of aluminum foil,“ Stevens said.“ „You will get more radiation from one of those dental X-rays than this.“