7 Effective Ways to Strengthen Your Small Business During Quarantine

Meeting, Business, Architect, Office, Team, Plan

If you began running your startup pre-pandemic, things might have been looking pretty good for you. However, with the pandemic (and the quarantines that came with it), you most likely felt a wave of panic rush over you.

If you’ve managed to survive thus far, you’re probably well aware that things may never be the same for your business. And you understand the need to think outside the box to strengthen your position in the marketplace and continue your success during these troubling times.

Rest assured there are options to boost your business in any situation. These best practices are more important than ever to poise your business for success and form a loyal customer base in the wake of COVID-19.

1. Get creative with lead generation.

In current times, e-commerce has become the go-to channel for customers. This gives marketers an opportunity to reach a massive customer base through online channels. Brands that don’t get their digital strategies right risk losing out on the lion’s share of customers.

Any smart marketer will tell you it’s not wise to depend on only one source of advertising for lead generation. You may have been able to get away with taking a risk pre-pandemic and may have even been doing very well. But it is certain to be a different story post-pandemic.

For businesses, it’s at least five times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain existing ones. The COVID-19 crisis has created a highly competitive marketplace where every brand is vying for customer attention more than ever, and retaining customers is a clear growth strategy brands should adopt. After all, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.

As a business owner, you are probably aware of the necessity of a continuous supply of fresh new leads. Diversifying your marketing to different media outlets is a way to protect yourself as we approach this new normal.

2. Rethink your business infrastructure.

Your business model must be streamlined for smooth operation and customer satisfaction. How is your current business model going to function moving forward?

For example, many businesses were strictly opposed to remote working conditions prior to the outbreak of the virus. As the world went into quarantine, businesses were practically forced to give in and experiment with some sort of remote working environment. This environment is likely to remain as quarantines begin to lift.

Ask yourself what has changed in your business due to the pandemic. More importantly, will these changes need to be permanent?

3. Take time to build an audience.

Plenty of businesses and startups are aware of the need to collect leads and follow up on a regular basis. But this is far from what is meant by “build an audience.”

Building an audience is all about engagement, not just following up to make the sale. This strategy was rising in popularity before COVID-19 and has become downright necessary since.

In times of uncertainty, people are more hesitant to spend their money. Building an audience allows you to engage with prospects in a low-pressure environment. You can take time to increase awareness of particular problems in your niche, get vital feedback from prospective clients in real time, and ultimately position yourself and your business as a leader and trusted source.

4. Become a beacon of joyful distraction.

This goes hand in hand with building an audience and generating leads. The nature of quarantine leads to people searching for new ways to be entertained. You can be that source of entertainment.

Obviously, how this looks for your business will depend on your niche. Just remember, the more familiar you are with your customers’ problems and thought processes, the easier it will be to provide them a joyful distraction while increasing your lead generation.

5. Take advantage of low advertising costs.

In the wake of the pandemic, we’ve seen price drops on many things. It’s a normal response for goods and services to come down in price when the average consumer is tightening up their budget.

The good news for startups, especially those looking to up their marketing game, is that paid advertising is one of the services that has seen a decrease in price.  

As far as cost goes, right now really is the best time to advertise. However, you can’t just throw money at an advertising campaign and expect it to work. Increased ad spending does not mean increased results. You still need to be smart about your advertising and carefully plan your message-to-market strategy. Smart marketers are adjusting their messages to better suit the market during this time of quarantine. 

6. Reposition your brand.

Branding is a never-ending process for any business. From the moment you open the doors to decades down the road, your every advertisement, customer interaction and visual image will reflect on your brand.

Branding is essentially a form of marketing in which you seek a uniform message to instill in the minds of the public when they think of your business. It’s up to you to portray that message effectively and consistently.

Take this time of reformation to consider your brand. Most likely, you will require some repositioning, but that could be as simple as redesigning your logo or revisiting your PR and publicity efforts. Just keep in mind as you adjust your marketing and prospect engagement strategies that your branding may also change.

As more small businesses adapt to the digital movement to improve their marketing efforts, giving each customer a personalized experience becomes even more critical. The more people relate to and trust your brand’s digital presence, the better the conversion. Smart startup teams have innovated and even benefited from the situation by offering unique digital experiences to potential buyers. 

Embracing the new social media culture and increasing the variety of digital channels for customer support has enabled companies to maintain their relationships with customers and keep them loyal. Although the current economic crisis may improve eventually, you should still be aware of the changes it has sparked in customer psychology, purchasing preferences and general behavior. With digital adoption on the rise, small businesses must harness the potential of digital channels and increase it with the latest customer engagement strategies.

7. Reorganize business capital.

With all these potential changes to consider for your startup during these times, your finances will play a foundational role in implementation. Whether you are looking to raise capital through crowdsourcing (such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe) or seeking more traditional means, such as venture capital or a small business loan, it will require some serious thought.

You need to make responsible financial decisions in any business climate, of course. But during this time of COVID-19, it’s critical to allocate your funding to the proper resources to ensure the longevity of your company.

How to Find Hidden Cameras in Your Airbnb, and Anywhere Else

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By Michael Grothaus

Inrecent months there’s been a number of alarming reports of Airbnb hosts installing hidden cameras in their properties but not disclosing them to the guests staying there. Back in January Fast Company reported on a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who discovered two hidden cameras recording him and his family in an Airbnb. And just last month The Atlantic reported on a New Zealand family who was renting an Airbnb in Ireland and found they were being live-streamed from a hidden security camera.

Unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents and in response to increasing reports of guests finding hidden cameras in their Airbnb rentals, Airbnb says they are cracking down on hosts who don’t disclose hidden cameras in their property listings.

Yet just because Airbnb has a policy forbidding hosts from hiding cameras in their property without informing their guests, that’s no guarantee all hosts are complying. So if you don’t like the idea that you could possibly be being spied on in the comfort of your Airbnb — or wherever else you’re staying — is there anything you can do besides taking the host at his word that there are no cameras on the property? Thankfully, yes.

Keep an eye out for any odd-looking gadgets

Let’s start with the most basic deterrent: keep your eyes open for any odd-looking gadgets in your Airbnb. Gadgets that look bulky or out of place in their surroundings may contain a hidden camera.

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A camera disguised as a USB plug. Photo: Johannes Ulrich

Admittedly, it’s not the easiest thing to spot a gadget containing a hidden camera that looks out of place, because cameras have become so small, they can be hidden in virtually any device — and ones anyone can buy on Amazon. Here’s just a small sample of the types of devices you can buy on Amazon with cameras hidden in them: alarm clockswall clockssmoke detectorsplantsmirrorslight bulbsspeakers, and even USB wall plugs.

Still, if you see an alarm clock in a bathroom or some other place you wouldn’t expect one to be, that could be a tip-off that something is amiss. Similarly, if you see any devices, such as a USB wall plug pointed directly at a bed or shower, something could be up.

When trying to visually spot gadgets with hidden cameras, keep an eye out for devices that have a clean, unobstructed line of sight.

Use a flashlight to check for camera lenses

Another trick to use to visually spot hidden cameras is the flashlight trick. A hidden camera necessitates that its lens is embedded in a regular object. Usually, that lens is made of glass and the object it’s hidden in is made of plastic or other non-glass materials.

Glass is generally more reflective than other materials, so the lenses of hidden cameras can be rather easy to spot if you shine a light around a room. The small camera lens should be more reflective than the surface of the surrounding object.

So it’s worth giving your Airbnb a once over with your smartphone’s flashlight. Turn out all the lights in the Airbnb and activate your flashlight. Slowly do a few sweeps of every room looking for any small, bright flashes of light relative to the surrounding area. If you spot any coming from an object, examine it more closely. You may have just found a hidden camera.

Use Wi-Fi-sniffing apps to check for smart devices

Unfortunately, the above visual checks of an Airbnb aren’t always enough to spot hidden cameras, even for the keen-eyed person. The good news is there’s an even better way to identify hidden cameras.

Virtually all modern hidden cameras, especially the types like the ones listed above, use wireless technology to connect to the router in the Airbnb so they can stream the footage over the internet where the host can view it remotely. But the very fact that these devices are covertly using a wireless signal to stream footage online makes them vulnerable to detection.

Smartphone users can use apps like Fing (available for both iOS and Android) that can display all the wireless devices connected to a Wi-Fi network. So after arriving at your Airbnb and connecting to the host’s wireless network, whip out Fing and give that network a scan. It’ll show your device and any other connected to that same network.

While Fing and similar apps can’t always identify what types of devices are connected (is it a hidden camera or just a wireless printer?) the app can display the MAC address of the connected device, which can give you a hint as to what the connected device is. Simply enter the MAC address of any identified gadget at MacVendorLookup.com to see who the manufacturer is and white type of device the MAC belongs to.

Use an RF detector

Of course, Fing and apps like it will only reveal connected hidden cameras if they are on the same wireless network as your smartphone. However, if the host has a second private wireless network that you don’t have access too, apps like Fing aren’t going to help you spot hidden cameras.

In that case, your only solution is to use a dedicated piece of hardware known as an RF detector. All wireless devices give off a radio frequency (RF) — it’s what allows Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to exist. An RF detector can hone in on devices emitting these RF signals, showing you where they are located in an Airbnb.

RF detectors are small handheld devices that can also be purchased on Amazon. They’ll usually set you back about $30 to $50 depending on the model you buy. But they’re worth the cash if you’re worried about shady Airbnb hosts watching you traipse around their property half undressed after taking a shower.

Using an RF detector is simple: just sweep it around the room. If it starts beeping repeatedly, it’s found a wireless signal coming from some device. Move the RF detector in the direction that makes the beeps increase until you spot the likely culprit. If the RF detector is going crazy by a potted plant or smoke detector, chances are good there’s a hidden camera inside.

What to do if you find a hidden camera

The first thing you should do if you find an undisclosed hidden camera in your Airbnb is contact both the host and Airbnb directly and report the camera. It’s up to you if you also want to file a police report. Hidden camera laws vary by state and country.

If you can’t immediately get a hold of the host and feel comfortable staying in the Airbnb for the time being, consider unplugging the hidden camera if it has a power cord, which should be enough to stop the camera from working (provided it doesn’t have an internal battery). If you don’t see any kind of plug, you can also simply place an object in front of or over the camera.

Finally, it’s not just cameras you should keep an eye out for. As smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home become ubiquitous, you should keep an eye out for these too. While the host might be including the smart speaker in the rental for non-nefarious purposes, remember that all smart speakers have microphones, so it’s conceivable that someone with enough know-how could use these devices to listen in on your conversations remotely.

As with hidden cameras, if you find a smart speaker and that bugs you, it’s best to unplug it. Just if you do unplug any smart connected devices (speakers, cameras, hidden or otherwise) in the Airbnb, be sure to let the host know so they don’t think you’re the one trying to do something amiss.

IKEA’s Best-Selling Product Is Not a Piece of Furniture

An Ikea Malaysia billboard promoting Swedish meatballs - Inside ...

Dave Chappelle has a moment in his Netflix special, Equanimity, where he gives the punchline to a joke at the very beginning — and still guarantees a laugh when you finally hear the joke.

It got me thinking. Spoilers or not, some stories are so good, even if you know the ending, you’ll still want to hear it.

What if I told you that Ikea’s most successful product is not a piece of furniture? It’s a meatball.

Ikea Releases Famous Meatball Recipe, Here's How To Make Them ...

In late April, deep into the COVID-19 lockdown, IKEA released a set of instructions on their twitter and the internet went crazy.

However, these weren’t normal instructions, they were a recipe for their famous Swedish meatballs, for everyone to cook at home.

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Screenshot of Ikea’s twitter feed, taken by Geraint Clarke

A lot of my friends were cooking them on social media or were overwhelmed at the idea of this secret being exposed.

I started looking into whether this cult hit was as popular as the internet made it feel, and I was shocked at the numbers.

The Unreal Sales Figures

IKEA sells a whopping 150 million meatballs per year, dwarfing the sales of its top furniture product, the “Billy” bookcase.

“Billy,” as it’s come to be known, is claimed to be the most commercially successful piece of modern furniture with more than 110 million Ikea Billy bookcases sold since its inception 40 years ago.

BILLY Bookcase - white - IKEA

However, with over one billion meatballs sold, the meatballs sell at a rate that’s almost 22 times greater than the Billy each year. 150 million units, compared to Billy’s measly 7 million units.

From a business and marketing perspective, this is fascinating. A furniture store’s number one product isn’t furniture at all. You just couldn’t write this s**t.

Why Do They Sell Food in the First Place?

IKEA’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, held the hypothesis that hungry customers were distracted customers, but if they were sufficiently satiated, they’d be likely to shop for longer — thus buying more.

Initially tested in 1958, when IKEA opened cafes in their stores, this long-held belief is still part of IKEA’s core strategy today.

Gerd Diewald, who runs IKEA’s U.S. food operations says, “When you feed, they stay longer, they can talk about their purchases, and they make a decision without leaving the store.”

Losing Money on Purpose: Strategic Loss

IKEA Malaysia drums up publicity for its foray into the northern ...

IKEA’s policy is to try and be the cheapest meal within a certain radius of the store, even if it means selling at a loss.

In business and marketing terms, this is known as a loss-leader.

This strategy reinforces your cheap prices in customer’s minds and serves as brand awareness for the customers that don’t convert the first time.

If you buy an IKEA meal today for RM20, IKEA makes a loss, but you may also purchase RM1,000 worth of furniture, so this offsets the loss of revenue on the food you ordered.

For those customers that buy the meal but don’t buy anything else, IKEA uses that loss as marketing towards future purchases. Customers will remember having a great deal at IKEA on food and won’t be averse to coming back again when they do need to make a homeware purchase in the future.

Although this tactic works, it doesn’t suit companies with shallow pockets, so be wary about copying it.

Are We Destined for a New Era of “Business Fusion”?

Like the trend of food-fusion, or mixing cuisines from around the world, IKEA’s success may have cemented a new era of “business fusion.”

I preach to my clients all of the time about the importance of branding, consistency, and correct targeting — but IKEA’s sales outside of their wheelhouse might be a lesson to all of us. Even me.

As retail sales slowly move online, brick and mortar businesses will need to adapt, using their expensive retail locations in unique ways, or sharing the real-estate with food and beverage franchises.

Businesses have already combined with complimenting services to maximise revenue. We just don’t notice it that often.

Village Grocer My Town | Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya | SWOT Design Group

We can already see:

  • Homeware stores with restaurants.
  • Book stores with coffee shops attached.
  • Local convenience stores with post-offices.
  • Supermarkets with in-house photo services.

The list goes on.

Each player in the market is working hard to satiate their customer’s needs and keep their undivided attention.

Time is money and if they’re not browsing your store, they’re potentially spending their money in someone else’s.

I’m not saying meatballs will be the secret marketing technique for your business, but it is food for thought (pun intended).

Thanks to Geraint Clarke

This Is What Could Cause the Stock Market to Collapse

Could Record ETF Buying Be Setting The Stage For A Stock Market ...

The health crisis seems to be the common reason people are arguing over whether the stock market will go up or down.

There’s a hidden problem in financial markets that many people can’t see and don’t understand.

I am going to give you a simplistic overview after working in finance for so many years and being determined to make the complex, understandable.

The 2008 financial crisis was caused by CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations). Investopedia describes this complex financial product nicely:

A CDO is a box into which monthly payments are made from multiple [home] mortgages. It is usually divided into three tranches, each representing different risk levels.

When the homeowners had issues repaying their mortgages, the CDO product, along with mortgage-backed securities, blew up and caused The Great Recession of 2008. The issue was that the home mortgages were examined by ratings agencies who gave them a rating. They were also incentified to fudge those ratings for a fee.

Investors thought they were investing in mostly AAA quality mortgages when they were in fact investing in toxic loans that were taken out by people who should of never been given them because they didn’t have enough money to pay back the loan.

In 2020, another very similar financial product known as CLOs is making investors nervous, according to Law Professor Frank Partnoy.

Unlike CDOs that are associated with home mortgages, CLOs are tied to business debt. When businesses can’t pay back their debt, the same scenario as 2008 can essentially play out. (In the current environment, do you think businesses would have any issues paying back debt? How about hospitality or travel?) It all comes down, again, to whether the rating agencies rated the quality of the businesses taking on the debt effectively.

What you have to consider is whether the ratings agencies are being properly regulated this time. In 2008, human greed was stronger than regulation.

Will human greed be stronger than regulation this time around?

The challenge with CLOs is you can’t look up how many of them exist. The estimated total value of CLOs is over one trillion dollars, says The Wall Street Journal. CDOs and CLOs are part of the derivative family of financial investments and the challenge with them is they are incredibly complex.

Their complexity makes them risky not only for the investors, but for the financial system and the stock market many of us invest in both voluntarily, and involuntarily through our retirement accounts.

Insiders in the finance world are already leaking information that suggests, perhaps, the same issue as 2008 is about to transpire again. Popular Twitter personality and ex-investment banker Raoul Pal is all over the CLO problem too. The issue this time is we have a global health crisis to contend with, as well as a potential financial crisis due to the risk of CLOs.

Just as easy mortgages fueled economic growth in the 2000s, cheap corporate debt has done so in the past decade, and many companies have binged on it — Frank Partnoy

The challenge is that last time the government stepped in and threw cash at the problem. The idea investors have to contend with is whether the government will take the same action again.

Betting the government will save you is a risky assumption.

Even if you haven’t invested in CLOs, it’s all of our problem. The financial institutions that have invested in CLOs are public companies that are listed on the stock exchange. Those same institutions hold your savings, retirement money, and any stocks you have purchased. This means if they have a problem, then we all have a problem.

Every financial product is tied to each other — if one fails, it can affect another. The similarities between now and the 2008 Stock Market Collapse are uncanny. It feels like a repeat, plus the addition of the health crisis.

What Can You Do About This Problem?

I look at the billionaires. Warren Buffet is sitting on huge piles of cash.

George Soros has sold all of his banking stocks recently. These famous billionaire investors clearly know something that not everybody has come to terms with. The current environment is full of risk.

Too much risk makes you stressed.

When nobody knows what is going to happen because it has been so long since we’ve dealt with a health crisis like this before, cash can make you feel like a king or queen. At the very least, it’s worth furthering your financial education. Learn about the Spanish Flu of 1918 and its effects on the stock market. Delve into the 2000 Tech Bubble and the 2008 Financial Crisis to gain an understanding of what we might be facing.

The worst thing you can do is believe the hype, take what traditional media says is the truth, and continue to place money into the stock market when you don’t understand what is going on.

The stock market is fine until it’s not fine — that’s when financial literacy takes money from those who know nothing and places that money into the hands of those who know the game inside and out, or spent the time to learn it.

By Tim Denning

Coca-Cola Nearly Died Because of One Decision

Coca-Cola’s decades of dominance would soon end.

Through the 1940s and ’50s, it held more than 60% of the market. Pepsi had been around but they’d floundered, going bankrupt several times while attempting to sink their teeth into the market.

However, by the 1970s, Pepsi had found its stride after several hit marketing campaigns. Where Coke’s primary demographic was older adults, Pepsi was winning over an expanding, younger demographic.

By 1980, Pepsi was only trailing coke by 3%.

This, unsurprisingly, made Coke very uncomfortable. They then did what one should never do when under pressure: overreact.

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Source: pic via Adage

They changed the original recipe.

But they hadn’t made this decision without favorable data. So what went wrong?

The Crack in the Process

Months earlier, Coca-Cola had begun “Project Kansas.” It sounds like a nuclear experiment but it was just a testing project for the new flavor.

In individual surveys, they’d found that more than 75% of respondents loved the taste, 15% were indifferent, and 10% had a strong aversion to the taste to the point that they were angry.

When researchers did surveys in group settings, they noticed the angry 10% exerted subtle peer pressure effects on the group.

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It was also called Coke II. Pic via Biz Insider

When New Coke was released, that 10% manifested in a big way. They began getting loud about their displeasure in the new recipe. News outlets began picking up on them, amplifying their voices, causing things to snowball.

A consumer action group, Old Cola Drinkers of America,formed and began to collectively protest the new recipe (some people clearly have a lot of time on their hands).

Additionally, Coke made a big cultural mistake. Coke is headquartered in the Deep South (Atlanta).

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The US has the cultural variation of 11 nations. Pic via BInsider.

Many patrons from the region saw the flavor change as another concession to the north, to the liberal minds that liked Pepsi.

At the time, Coca-Cola had a customer hotline. It was flooded with more than a thousand phone calls a day with people airing their grievances.

Confused at the sudden backlash, Coke executives hired a psychiatrist to listen in who later said, “Some people sounded as if they were discussing the death of a family member.”

Pepsi pounced — running their own ads making fun of Coke’s mistake. In turn, Pepsi and Coke’s market shares drew even.

Major media publications, smelling blood, pounced as well.

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Pic via American Treasure Tour

Invariably, Coke saw a decline in sales and, far more importantly, major damage to their golden brand perception.

The Bizarre Switch

It’s interesting that so much of the data had been favorable beforehand.

Where surveys had shown more than 70% preference for New Coke, surveys afterward showed less than 13%.

Where professional critics had said good things in prior surveys, they now became more negative, with Mimi Sheraton saying, “New Coke seems to retain the essential character of the original version…It tastes a little like classic Coca-Cola that has been diluted by melting ice.”

The trend factor proved to be massive in the perception of the new flavor. It got to the point where fans booed Coke commercials in sports arenas.

Just three months after the release of New Coke, the president of Coca-Cola aired a commercial announcing that coke would return and took the unprecedented step of announcing they’d made a mistake.

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YouTube pic via author

And hence, today, you will notice that all Coca-Cola either says “classic” on the can or “original” on the container holding the cans.

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Source: Shoplet

Coke lost $30M in the unsold New Coke inventory and the $4M on research it spent. This is approximately $82 million in 2020 dollars.

Today, the story of New Coke is a poster child for marketing disasters. It is taught in nearly every marketing program in the United States.

So where is the nuance in all this? Why did Coke catch so much crap just for changing a recipe? Three reasons:

  1. They ignored the unrelenting power of peer pressure. Many users in public found themselves avoiding New Coke for fear of judgment.
  2. They learned the importance of honoring your biggest brand advocates. The heaviest consumers of your products will have exponentially louder voices. This is why filmmakers tasked with doing remakes and sequels have such a treacherous job.
  3. They forgot the cultural value of Coke. Coke has a long history and brings feelings of nostalgia to its drinkers.

Not all products are like cars and electronics. They can’t just be tweaked and changed like a new version of an iPhone.

With the New Coke disaster, it seems there has never been a more applicable use of the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

By Sean Kernan

How a PR Stunt Became a Bomb Scare

In 2014, Jane was entering work for a normal day in the office at Ninemsn, a major media outlet in Sydney, Australia.

In the late morning, the local mail delivery brought her a package.

On the outside of the package, there was a note that said, “Check your voicemail.”

This confused her as she didn’t use a voicemail service. She went to open the large package to find that it was a black safe, exactly like the one that in hotel rooms.

Source: pic by Needpix

Still confused as to why there was a black safe, she called her supervisor over, who asked other departments if they’d received any packages like this. Then they called other news publications to ask if they’d received any boxes like this as well. All said no.

They began fiddling with the safe, trying to open it. Then, they suddenly heard a beeping sound inside.

This is when the team paused and took a step back. They were a media organization and it wasn’t unheard of for journalists to be targeted by terrorist attacks.

They phoned the police, who told them to clear out the floor immediately.

Four police cars arrived, went upstairs, gave it a look, and called the bomb unit in. They then had the entire building evacuated. After employees stood outside for more than an hour, management had their teams all go home for the day (this was just after lunch).

The bomb squad arrived. They loaded the black safe onto a special bomb transportation unit, took it down to the basement, and began the process of carefully scanning and then opening the safe.

And after all of this buildup and drama, they pried the safe door open to reveal:

Source: pic via eBay

A preview copy of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. A game about a hacker, who conducts an electronic bank heist.

Ubisoft’s marketing team had sent a bunch of sample games (inside safes) to nearby media outlets. Sample distribution is common in most industries as a means of drumming up attention and reviews for their game. The marketing team had called ahead, leaving voicemails to let recipients know the package was arriving and how they could access it.

At this office, their intended journalist didn’t have voicemail set up on their phone so she didn’t get the message.

Following this event, Ubisoft’s CEO issued a statement saying, “Unfortunately, the delivery to Ninemsn didn’t go as planned, and we unreservedly apologize to Ninemsn’s staff for the mistake and for any problems caused as a result. We will take additional precautions in the future to ensure this kind of situation doesn’t happen again.”

One can’t help but imagine the horror their creative team felt when they realized what they’d done. This promotion was ill-advised and devoid of logic. This marketing stunt didn’t take place in 1950 before a tradition of bombings had become so common. This was 2014. Terrorism was at a peak.

Sending beeping safes to news outlets buildings? It was only a matter of time.

This was simply an outcrop of Ubisoft’s aggressive marketing campaign that year, which included a number of edgy campaigns that were actually quite effective.

But this one was a bit shortsighted. This media organization they sent this safe to didn’t even do reviews of video games. It was all for nothing.

They say any publicity is good publicity. But one has to wonder where the line is. Ubisoft could have easily been sued for lost time and wages over this incident. Had there been a panic, with people running out of the building, someone might have been hurt.

They got lucky.

And thankfully, Ubisoft went on to have record sales of Watch Dogs, though it was unrelated to this event and more because of the gaming community’s anticipation.

Don’t get too thirsty with your ideas. And don’t ever send anything in the mail that might be perceived as a bomb. Even if it’s free. And fake.

By Sean Kernan

4 Easy Ways to Overcome Stress

Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Unhappy, Worried, Problem

Originally Written by Mohamed Zumry

STRESS is an emotion we all experience, more so in these uncertain times, but what is it really?

In day-to-day life, STRESS is something we experience more and more ! we claim that we are stressed out in life but gained nothing in advance. We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much and that we are overloaded, and we start to wonder whether we can cope with the pressures placed upon us. This basically emphasizes the fact that we really don’t understand what stress is or why we are stressed, if so what is the solution to it?

What Is Stress?

Stress is a feeling that’s created when we react to particular events. It’s the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. 

The events that provokes the stress are called stressors, a stressor is an agent or stimulus that causes stress.

So, here you should understand the way we respond to stressors are important, This natural reaction is known as the stress response. Because Some situations which are not negative ones may still be perceived as stressful. This is because we think we are not completely prepared to cope with them effectively or the wrong stress respond.

No matter how powerless you may feel in the face of stress, you still have control over your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. First believe in yourself, Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation.

When i researched on this topic I found a good moral example by a psychology professor while teaching stress management principles. She starts it by raising a question towards the audience by holding a glass full of water on his hand asking,

 “How heavy is this glass of water I’m holding?” She replied, “From my perspective, the absolute weight of this glass doesn’t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it’s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.”

She continued, “Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water.  Think about them for a while and nothing happens.  Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little.  Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed – incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.

It is clear that the way you respond to a challenge may also be a type of stress. Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. There are many techniques to manage stress in your life, here are few:

1. Positive self-talk – Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. Always think i can do this no matter how many hurdles i cross in-between.

2. Emergency Stress Stoppers – There are many ways to keep you relax by this way because when you are over stressed you won’t realise what you are doing or talking so go on wild behaviour, just calm your self take a deep breathe, drink some water, don’t speak to anyone just make yourself free or Consider meditation or prayer to break the negative reactions.

3. Managing your time – Time is also a stressor for most of the people. Your workload can cause stress, if you don’t manage your time well. This can be a key source of stress for many people.

4. Be grateful – “Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries,” says Joni Emmerling,

Stress is a part of normal life. It’s impossible to completely eliminate stress, and it would not be advisable to do so. Instead, we can learn relaxation techniques and other methods to manage stress so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental. Remember to let go of your stresses and worries.  No matter what happens during the day, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down.  Don’t carry them through the night and into the next day with you . JUST LEAVE IT and Enjoy your life!

History With a Side of Fries: The Origins of McDonald’s

Vintage McDonald's | Mcdonalds, Googie, Googie architecture

McDonald’s happens to be one of the most popular and recognizable names around the world, up there with brands such as Coca Cola, Microsoft, Disney. Golden Arches are as iconic as they come. They are operating over 30,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, some might argue that they are the MOST successful restaurant in the entire world.

Story of Mc Donalds - Dinath Yaggahavita - Medium

Maurice and Richard McDonald, a pair of brothers that started the first ever McDonald’s restaurant back in 1948. Before they were leaders in the fast-food industry, McDonald’s was but a humble barbecue restaurant. That particular restaurant happened to be one of the earliest introduction of a drive-through system, which helped separate them from the rest of the pack. However, the restaurant was not sustainable in the long run and something had to be done, something had to change. So, they decided to turn their drive-through barbecue restaurant into a burger and milkshake joint.

The First McDonald's Franchise: How Ray Kroc Got Started 60 Years ...

They first began changing the menu, they decided to streamline the options, and keep the menu simple. They decided to focus on the burgers, fries, and shakes, they decided to undercut their competitors in both pricing and time taken to produce. The method they implemented to achieve this is what we now know as the foundation of “fast-food”. They did this by installing a self-service counter, instead of traditionally relying on waiters and waitresses. Instead of cooking to order, they would prepare the burgers ahead of time and kept the food warm under heat lamps. At the time, it gave McDonald’s as significant edge against its traditional competitors.

Here are all the items that were on the original McDonald's menu ...

Eventually, this business model brought them to the attention of a kitchen appliance salesman, who was also supplying the restaurant, Ray Kroc. He was so impressed by their business model, that he decided to buy the rights to begin franchising McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Although, the brothers at that time did already licensed a small number of franchise restaurants in the state of Arizona and California. In 1955, Kroc formed the McDonald’s Corporation and opened his very first franchised restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Ray Kroc (October 5, 1902 — January 14, 1984), American ...

Although Maurice and Richard McDonald created the first restaurant and its food service business model, most would say that Kroc was the one maximized their potential and founded the McDonald’s the world knows and loves. He took the individual restaurant form its San Bernardino location and turned it mass-market. By 1961, Kroc had fully bought out the founders and was now running the company by himself.

McDonald's Malaysia has renamed its Bukit Bintang outlet: 'Mekdi ...

Thus, the modern McDonald’s was born, starting from a humble restaurant in San Bernardino, and growing and expanding into the rest of the world. Today, you’d be hard pressed to not spot a McDonald’s in any of the countries you visit. I could definitely go for some Mekdi right now.

How Fatherhood In the NBA Has Changed Since the Jordan Era

Michael Jordan's kids share what it was like to be raised by the ...

The current generation of NBA stars boasts dynamic athletes who inspire excellence through impressive talent, just like generations of hoopers before them. But one thing that has changed in the league, and significantly, is the role fatherhood plays. The league today is filled with proud fathers, men who don’t hesitate to bring their children into the spotlight with them.

20,000 People Will Pack L.A.'s Staples Center To Pay Tribute To ...
RIP Black Mamba

We think of the late Kobe Bryant as Gianna “Mambacita” Bryant’s father, and Steph Curry as scene-stealer Riley’s dad. Dwyane Wade openly expresses love for Zaya at every turn. Yet, as The Last Dance unwittingly showed over the past five weeks, tremendous NBA stars rarely allowed themselves to be proud dads publicly.

In the late 1980s and ’90s, Michael Jordan’s superstardom couldn’t help but affect his relationship with his children — not just as a father on the road for months at a time, not just as a man with a notoriously tireless work ethic and competitive drive, but as an icon whose impact couldn’t help but create expectations for his kids. During his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, Jordan turned to three of his children and said, “You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn’t want to be you guys if I had to.”

During that era, could someone simultaneously be considered the best basketball player on earth, an endorsement-deal king, and father of the year all at once? Not quite.

Stephen Curry's Adorable Daughter Riley Took Over His Post-Game ...
Steph and Riley Curry

Now skip ahead two decades to the 2015 NBA Finals. The league’s newly crowned MVP, Steph Curry, was busy helping his team to its first title in 40 years, but in a postgame press conference, another new star emerged. Curry’s daughter Riley, two years old at the time, interrupted the humdrum postgame sports-speak, told her father to be quiet, and curiously wandered the press conference staging area. Yes, Chef Curry became the most popular player in the league that year — but that moment made clear that he’s also a doting, charmingly awkward father balancing parenthood with his newfound superstardom.

There are no vintage clips of MJ’s children comically taking over postgame pressers. In the entire 10-hour stretch of The Last Dance, only three of his children appear in a clip that lasts barely three minutes. His twins with his second wife, Yvette Prieto, are not shown at all. There’s zero mention of his first wife, Juanita Vanoy. While the NBA may be in a different place when it comes to fatherhood, MJ’s dad narrative remains locked off.

Jasmine M. Jordan (@MickiJae) | Twitter
Jasmine Jordan

Jasmine Jordan was two years old in 1993, when her father won his third NBA championship. She recently spoke to the Associated Press about being Michael Jordan’s daughter during the apex of his career. It revealed just how far MJ went to keep his career and his parenthood separate — so much so that his own daughter resorted to Googling facts about him. “I was like, ‘Why is everyone so intrigued by you? You’re just dad. You’re not that cool,’” she said. “But lo and behold, he was kind of a big deal. So, it’s definitely something that’s been eye-opening.”

Did we need to know about MJ’s family life to stay locked into his Black Jesus persona? The Jordan brand smashed through revenue goals like a true-to-the-era Terminator. There is a natural, commerce-based argument that the exponential growth that Nike and the NBA experienced from 1988 to 1993 superseded the impact of MJ and his then-wife Juanita starting a family.

In 1993, the NBA was skyrocketing out of its doldrums. Michael Jordan dunked on everything in sight as an über-Superman who didn’t need a cape to fly. Adding his children to his appeal could’ve crushed him down to earth. Yes, when staring at unprecedented capitalistic growth, absurdist tendencies can become governing logic.

LeBron James' Most Adorable Family Photos - Essence

A quarter-century later, the NBA is in a different place. The league, secure in its global popularity, lacks the urgent pressure of needing to earn every available dollar. Thus, for every fourth-quarter grimace at a referee’s blown call, there’s a postgame hug of a son or daughter. We’ve evolved past the need for players to be presented as cyborgs. They can now, quite literally, embrace their humanity.

By Marcus K. Dowling

The Man Who Stopped World War 3

We often know the names of people who start wars, but what about those that stopped wars from happening? Today, I’ll tell you a little about a man who stopped a global nuclear holocaust, and World War 3 from happening.

The sub dives deep into the depths of the ocean in order to avoid detection, however, after spotting the sub, the Americans start dropping depth charges to try and get the Soviet submarine to surface. However, the sub was too deep and was unable to make contact with the surface, and from the inside, it felt as if the submarine was being bombed from all angles. Only one thought crossed the minds of the men onboard; “The war has begun.” See, what the Americans didn’t know is that there was a tactical nuclear torpedo on the sub, ready to launch on authorization. Worst of all, there’s a Russian captain wondering, should I fire?

You (and Almost Everyone You Know) Owe Your Life to This Man.
A young Vasili Arkhipov

That Captain’s name was Valentin Savitsky, and he decided to authorize the launch, as did the political officer present on the ship. Crew members on the sub started scrambling to get the missiles ready, luckily for the rest of the world, the decision to authorize the launch had to be made unanimously. In comes Vasili Arkhipov, the last remaining vote, he was a flotilla commander who was on the sub for a secret mission to Cuba, he was also Savitsky’s equal.

Had Savitsky successfully launched the torpedo, it would’ve annihilated a U.S. destroyer or aircraft carrier. The expected reaction from the U.S would be to respond with nuclear-depth charges, and many believe it would have led to further catastrophic consequences.

However, we are still here now, much of that is thanks to Arkhipov, as he was the only one not to authorize the launching of the missiles, Arkhipov told the captain that the ship was not in danger and was merely being asked to surface.

Bush and the JFK Hit, Part 7: Empire Strikes Back - WhoWhatWhy

As the drama unfolded, Kennedy was rightfully worried that the Russians would mistake the depth charges for an attack. When his defense secretary said that the U.S. was dropping “grenade”-sized signals over the subs, the president winced. His brother Robert Kennedy later said that talk of the depth charges “were the time of greatest worry to the President. His hand went up to his face [and] he closed his fist.”

Looking back at it now, it all came down to Arkhipov. Everyone agrees that he’s the guy who stopped the captain. He’s the one who stood in the way. On his return to Moscow, he was not punished by the Soviets as far as we know, instead, he was later promoted.

Why this man is the only reason we are all still alive today - World News -  Mirror Online

Not only is Vasili Arkhipov a Soviet hero, he is OUR hero, he indirectly stopped World War 3 from happening, thus, saving the world from itself.