Business Networking: BeepBeep Nation and Intangible Profit

I’ve been in the game for a while now. In the world of business, it’s not enough to be efficient, effective, and generally adept at your tasks. What’s more important than the mechanical side of whatever industry is securing good relationships and establishing a broad network of contacts. Dealing with administrative and operational matters should not overshadow putting yourself and your company out there and meeting great people.

There are some traditional means of business networking. Setting up events to gather potential clients and affiliates is always on the table — there is always an opportune time for a semi-casual party, a formal program to an organization you want to sponsor, an official launch of a new product, or others. Attending trade shows and business conferences is also very conducive to building a network; whether as an attendee or a speaker, you’ll get the chance to meet people and stimulate their interests.

In these areas, making a good impression is of utmost priority. Hard selling one’s business may not always be the most effective approach. Sometimes, keeping the conversation light, fun, but engaging may be even more beneficial. This is your one shot at establishing a connection, so actually getting to know a few great prospects is better than having a standard robotic speech for everyone. Aggressive methods are also not recommended as you do not want to scare away your prospects.

Talking about your passions and listening to them talk about their passions is a good step to ensuring a followup sometime soon. Remembering the humanity of the people that you’re talking to while talking to them leads to more fulfilling, more secure relationships in the future. This is true for both our professional and personal lives.

Of course, in the digital age, there are updated ways of achieving the same goal. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and other online communities are a good way to promote your business and establish a more secure network of potential clients and affiliates. Nowadays, it’s actually unusual for any business not to have its own website or blog to express its philosophy, share its take on relevant industry issues, provide information requisite to the business, and enable interactions with its current audience and eventual prospects.

Being in business also means committing to things that do not instantly scream profit! at your face. It may feel counterintuitive at times to do things for free, especially in a world where it’s easier to look only at price tags and consider nothing else. But profit isn’t always immediately tangible in business networking.

Sometimes, a long-lasting excellent reputation is worth way more than an instant sell. Offering your help and expertise to people who seem to have issues that you can address might be mutually favorable. Again, while you don’t want to be aggressive, taking the initiative is a good habit. Not only are there possibilities of people eagerly returning favors some other time, helping out may eventually lead to your reputation as a generous person.

To this end, it’s also good to look for opportunities to volunteer your time. Business networking doesn’t require your focus to solely be on your own business; venturing into other fields can actually give you an even broader network. Volunteering in the community gets you in touch with other groups of people who may not seem relevant at first, but could prove helpful in the future.

Inculcating this in yourself will make you appreciate the value of everyone you meet and inspire you to get to know even more people in a deeper way.

One such app that aims to facilitate these connections and encourage people to have fulfilling face-to-face social interactions is BeepBeep Nation. By providing a platform for requestors to get any kind of help they need and for helpers to offer their capacity to help out, what BeepBeep Nation wants is to create a helping economy that will be beneficial for all of its users.

It may seem a little strange to lend a hand without getting anything in return, but as I’ve illustrated regarding business networking, what it provides you is more long-term yield. Simply giving someone a ride or a place to stay for the night is already a huge investment. BeepBeep Nation offers a plethora of these opportunities: aside from a ride or a place to stay, you can assist in medical emergencies and vehicle breakdowns, you may merely give accurate information regarding the restaurant your requestor wants to check out, and other forms of help.

You never know, the person you gave a recommendation for a quaint local café might just be your next great business partner.

Go to the BeepBeep Nation website to find out how to get started. Fuelled by the EMINENT token, BeepBeep Nation is set to launch soon worldwide, starting in selected cities. The EMINENT token pre-sale is currently live, with great bonuses available. Check it out now, and don’t hesitate to participate in a world of change.

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Free Ice Cream to Help Save Honey Bees

Bee populations are known to be on a steep decline. And it’s worrisome because the many benefits given to us by the cutesy bugs (please click at your own risk, lest you faint of cuteness) are no secret to our generation, to environmental activists and non-activists alike. Some people already act of their own volition, like communities turning empty lots into bee homes and repairing beekeeping equipment. The UK has even banned pesticides that are harmful to bees.

Another stint in the bee-saving movement comes from ice cream company Häagen-Dazs, as they give away free ice cream cones to promote the advocacy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees campaign . . . Since starting 10 years ago, Häagen-Dazs has donated over $1 million to bee research and planted over 11,000 plants. If you want to help the bees too, the ice cream company asks that you donate to the Xerces Society—they have a goal of planting 1 million acres of habitat for bees.

A third of Häagen-Dazs products apparently depend on the honey bees, and so does a third of our entire food intake, which makes their decreasing population truly alarming.

The annual Free Cone Day serves as a recognition of whom Adam Hanson, President and General Manager of the food company, calls “pollinators that make our ice cream possible.” Of course, the event doesn’t stop at recognition of the hard-working bees. It is, more than anything, a call for help.

“With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the brand’s honey bee support, we wanted to build on that information and encourage everyone to band together for this important cause.”

Many people want to save the honey bees, not just for their general cuteness, but for their steadfast role in our food supply. And come on, let’s just be honest here. Who wouldn’t want to help in the name of free ice cream?

 

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Microsoft Commits $25M to AI for People with Disabilities

I’m sure I’m not the only one inspired to hear news about someone overcoming obstacles in his or her life and going on to accomplish amazing feats. Time and time again, people have proven that their disabilities cannot take away the drive for awesome deeds, such as a model and a beauty queen with Down’s Syndrome. Blind children achieved scout status, while a blind woman is representing her country at an international triathlon. And in a nearly unbelievable effort, a woman suffering locked-in syndrome wrote a book using only her eye movement.

Microsoft is probably super inspired as well, because the company has recently shown willingness and commitment to help people with disabilities discover their potential. To be specific, it has shown willingness in the amount of 25 million dollars.

The tech company announced their “AI For Accessibility” initiative during their annual developer conference in Seattle on [Monday, May 14].

“By innovating for people with disabilities, we are innovating for us all,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith about the program. “By ensuring that technology fulfills its promise to address the broadest societal needs, we can empower everyone — not just individuals with disabilities — to achieve more.”

The amount will be divided in investments to products involving artificial intelligence that Microsoft and their partner companies will develop. Part of it will also go to grants for startup innovators and designers as well as universities, if they have projects that align to Microsoft’s goals, which is to make life better for people with disabilities. After the next five years in which the initiative will come to fruition, I wonder what inspiring stories we’ll be hearing about then.

The initiative takes special interest in specifically harnessing AI technology to help the disabled, similarly to how it is utilized in real-time text-to-speech programs and predictive-text capabilities.

“AI can be a game changer for people with disabilities,” said Smith. “By making AI solutions more widely available, we believe technology can have a broad impact on this important community.”

Once again, the industry sends a statement that there’s more to technology than profit. And Microsoft has a 25-million-dollar commitment to show for it.

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42 Food Giants Pledge to Ax Plastic

2018 gave us a lot of eco-friendly changes in the food industry: Pepsi debuted reusable bottles for flavored beverages, Dunkin Donuts ditched foam cups from their packaging, even McDonald’s followed suit with foam cups and plastic straws. I hate to say that this environmentalist trend among food giants has reached its peak with the good news I bring now, but it does feel like a culmination of sorts.

A total of 42 food companies in the UK — composed of retailers, supermarkets, manufacturers, and brands — have pledged to ax single-use plastics by 2025.

Together, the signatories represent roughly 80% of the plastics sold in UK supermarkets. The initiative . . . has set a series of goals to cut wasteful packaging over the course of the next seven years. For starters, the initiative will ensure that 100% of plastic packaging must either be recyclable, compostable, or reusable in order to make it onto supermarket shelves. Some supermarkets have gone even further and declared that plastic packaging will no longer be used on fruits and vegetables.

The signatories include UK brands like Asda, Nestle, Lidl, Coca-Cola, Aldi, PepsiCo, Unilever, Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Sainsbury, and many others. Besides ensuring the elimination of single-use plastics, the pledge also covers recycling. The current recycling rate is 30%, and the participating food giants seek to bump it up to 70%.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who is backing the pact, said in a statement: “Our ambition to eliminate avoidable plastic waste will only be realized if government, businesses, and the public work together.”

In addition to bringing super chic eco-bags to the supermarket, well, I guess I just have to remember this pledge to feel less guilty when buying those apples.

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Taco Bell’s Education Support to 210,000 Employees

As individuals, we can all act even in little ways to alleviate the condition of people who do not have the same resources as ourselves, like perhaps helping underprivileged kids gain opportunities through donations or planned skill-training sessions. However, it is undeniable that more action from institutions is necessary for greater societal change. States like New York and Los Angeles have been responding to this truth through community projects such as providing free lunches to hundreds of thousands of children and making library books accessible to low-income families.

A groundbreaking move on the corporate side has come from a famous fast food chain as Taco Bell helps all 210,000 of its employees towards educational opportunities.

On March 15, Taco Bell announced that employees at the chain’s 7,000 stores nationwide are eligible for education classes at 80 online universities, as well as tuition assistance and college credit for job training at the restaurant.

Other chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks also offer support to some employees through programs like this. Employees with a high school degree or less need the above-mentioned benefits to have better career prospects in the future.

“When we surveyed our employees, education support was one of the top three things they asked for,” Frank Tucker, global chief people officer at Taco Bell, said in a statement. “The barriers to achieving their education goals were time, money and support.”

Beyond this, the program also seems to be mutually beneficial to Taco Bell and its employees, as 98% of the people who participated in the pilot batch stayed in the company for more than six months. It’s a win-win situation for now, with even larger potential in the long run.

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Can You Build The World’s Best New Phone App?

“There’s an app for that,” must be the expression of the century — after all, it’s true. You can spy on your partner, keep track of the places you’ve taken a dump, and seek cuddle buddies. Some apps demonstrate explosive popularity but only remain on the hot list for weeks, if not days (looking at you, Pokemon Go). So how exactly do you craft the next best phone app and remain trending?

Think about what people want. What is everyone’s latest obsession? Which apps have endured the test of time? Games such as Candy Crush maintain a steady amount of users and rake in a lot of credit. Consider how and why. You’ll soon figure that the answer is simple. Anyone can play it. Its features are addicting. It’s free but also tricks you into spending an occasional buck for that extra life. Here is where market research may come in handy.

But before getting your hands dirty, consider your audience. Do you want to build an app that caters primarily to millennials? Or do you want a few Gen X heads to turn? Making an “app for everyone” may seem like the way to go, but it isn’t always the easiest.

When brainstorming, play to your strengths. Sure, you can make an app for pretty much anything. But why not create something you are already well-versed in? After all, a physical therapist working on an app for 15-minute exercises does make a lot of sense.

Once you’ve established a general sense of what your app is going to be, it’s time for the nitty gritty. Give your app multiple functions. But focus, of course, is important. You can’t throw together a photo editing app that also allows you to order a pizza. Figure out what makes the most sense and deliver real value.

An app that can do a lot of things may seem the way to go, but not with a complex design. Make your app user-friendly. Windows loyalists may often tease Mac users for being technological dummies. But the truth of the matter is, Mac will almost always remain on top for the simple fact that it is easy to use.

A seamless beginning doesn’t always make for smooth-sailing in the long run. Keep track of bugs and when the going gets tough, communicate with your users. Just because something seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is. Take customer feedback seriously. What might make sense to you may be someone else’s worst nightmare. Troubleshoot with grace, like a virtual ballerina.

Most importantly, stay current. In order to remain relevant, keep up with the times. Upgrade your app to suit prevailing trends. Mermaid hair and rompers for men may eventually go out of style, but you don’t have to. Adjust to change, even when it means taking risks. Nothing ever comes easy to those who play it safe.

App-making is treacherous business, even for experienced entrepreneurs. But with consistent batting practice, any smartphone user could hit a home run.

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Dutch Group Builds Furniture With Canal Garbage

Nowadays, “fancy” isn’t about luxury materials and extravagant designs. Instead, lavish design is more so sustainable than it is expensive. Alternative to landfills, trash is making its way back into homes as furniture. Alongside startup Pentatonic, Dutch company Plastic Whale is turning plastic waste into chic furniture pieces.

Plastic Whale recently announced a circular furniture collection, composed of a conference room table, chairs, lamps, and acoustic panels that are all made out of PET bottles from Amsterdam’s canals.

A thousand bottles make a single high-end felt and foam-paneled table, while 50 to 60 make a chair. Considering the amount of plastic polluting bodies of water, furniture selections have ridiculous amounts of potential to grow. Even better, Plastic Whale models its furniture after marine life.

Ten percent of the profits… will be invested in local projects in other parts of the world that aim to use a similar economic model to turn plastic waste into something valuable. The resources generated from the furniture will go into more plastic fishing expeditions.

In an industry constantly on the hunt for the best textiles and constituents, trash is certainly their treasure.

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McDonald’s To Ax Plastic Foam Cups

We’re three months into the year and McDonald’s is showing up every fast food chain on the planet. From its impromptu discovery of an anti-balding agent in its fries, Mickey D’s is up to something even bigger. To get with the times, the Supersize Me star is phasing out all foam products by the end of 2018.

It’s the first time the fast-food giant has openly committed to a deadline to completely stop using polystyrene drink containers, which are eco-unfriendly and nearly impossible to recycle. The containers for its large cold drinks represent a mere 2 percent of its packaging, which still comes out to millions of dollars and cups annually.

The restaurant overlord last made a large gesture towards sustainability 27 years ago. The company then replaced styrofoam “clamshells” with eco-friendly paper packaging. Still, it’s a much-needed push en route to a greener Earth.

McDonald’s is expected to announce a packaging and recycling initiative [soon], said Conrad MacKerron, a senior vice president of As You Sow. “We do appreciate what McDonald’s has done,” he said. “It’s taken a long time, but better late than never.”

I guess slow and steady wins the race!

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From Rookie To Pro: Acing Job Interviews

The real-world stage through the eyes of a fresh grad is often exciting and simultaneously terrifying. When balancing budgets isn’t creeping up anyone’s sleeve, it’s the unforgiving task of job hunting. True enough, the perfect 9-to-5 may eventually roll around, but won’t be yours until after acing the dreaded interview. It’s daunting, undeniably, but totally doable with a lot of preparation and a little bit of charisma.

For some, the dream isn’t necessarily the job itself, but the agency. Still, familiarizing yourself with the role is always the first key move to a promising career. Know what tasks you will be performing — even the nitty, gritty, nothing-to-brag-about, seemingly menial duties like filing papers. And anyway, if you’re applying to a company like Google, filing papers may be a lot more significant than anyone lets on. All that information has to go somewhere!

It may seem the most trivial aspect of an interview, but make the effort to dress the part. Design or advertising groups may appear casual, but looking professional never does any harm. Wear something you feel confident in — maybe a statement piece such as a bright necklace or tie. Keep in mind not to get too carried away. Interviewers don’t want to be distracted by a penguin-printed suit.

Here’s the kicker: know the company. Head to toe. Left to right. Top to bottom. A job interview might be about your strengths, but there’s no harm in gauging how you’ll fit in in relation to your potential work place. A CEO might also throw you a curveball with statistics or facts that you want to be prepared for. Simply knowing who a company’s founder is may work greatly in your favor. Of course, your knowledge should exist beyond the basics.

Most interview questions are fairly basic: how would you describe yourself in three words? What can you bring to the table? What are your strengths and weaknesses? To you, and even occasionally to the interviewers, these questions can feel a little monotonous. The solution? Be creative but not outlandish. Add a touch of humor to your responses but only when it’s relevant. Knock knock jokes aren’t always going to fly with businesslike professional. When the tough questions come around, be prepared. Make a list of any possible queries an interviewer might have and how you’d go about answering them.

Most importantly, answer honestly. If you encounter a brain fart, ask for half a minute to allow yourself to recover. Never panic, as it leads mostly to rambling and, at times, tears. Be honest about your past experiences and how you might’ve learned from mistakes. Editors are fairly eagle-eyed — they probably know you more than you let on.

As tacky as it seems, be yourself. You may be working with these people for years and you don’t want to have to put up a front. Anyway, being whoever you want to be is reserved for online personas. The real you is what companies are after.

Sure, on the whole, interviews are stressful. But the relief of a job well done is just about the best reward.

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So You Want To Start A Blog?

Now that we’ve established anyone can write a book, starting a blog might be on your radar. While it’s a great way to express yourself and share opinions with netizens, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Casual or professional, blogging isn’t for the idle writer. But if you’re brimming with ideas, it may be the perfect platform for you.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a computer wiz to start a blog. All you need is a vision and lots of commitment. But before jumping ahead, decide what you want to blog about. A sensible place to start would be where your passion lies. Don’t dwell on how your potential readers might respond — we’ll get to that later. Think of a topic you can go on about for hours, or even days. You can also try brain-mapping. 

Once you have outlined your content, pick out a blogging platform. For most, WordPress is more or less a go-to site for its user-friendly interface. However, the freedom is yours. If you are hoping to reach a wide audience (which, I assume, would be anyone’s intent), select a host for your blog. Most web hosts provide inexpensive plans that will suit your needs. This will get your site circulating.

It may seem the least of your worries, but choosing a domain is essential to your online identity. Remember that your title will come with a fee, so be thoughtful! Figure out what best represents you and what is easiest to remember. If you are keen on using your own name, consider dropping anything that is hard to spell. Using a suggested title isn’t out of the question, but keep it unique.

Another important step (and no, you needn’t be an HTML expert) is to establish a themeFree options are perfectly fine but a few tweaks and accents may help your aesthetic stand out. Tinker with various layouts that best suit your style. Are you a photographer? A journalist? What would catch your eye? Be meticulous. Don’t teeter between formats — it may confuse your followers!

After getting the technical tasks out of the way, it’s time to begin your journey! While it’s important to make sure your first piece is gripping, make sure you consistently put out quality content. Nobody wants to read a boring blog! If, at some point, you’re stumped for topics, draft your ideas in advance. It always helps to know what you’ll be writing about in a few weeks’ time. Better yet, schedule your posts. Are you willing to publish once, twice, or three times a week? Decide how great of a load you can carry to avoid missing out on a post. Remember — nothing beats being honest with yourself regarding how much you can handle.

In a (now) predominantly virtual world, blogging is the most efficient way to have meaningful conversations. Though the most successful writers are undoubtedly very opinionated, don’t forget your online etiquette. A smart blogger may end up popular, but a firm and respectful one is also highly esteemed.

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