Welcome to Super Debut!
It goes without saying then, that being financially secure can make you happier. The definition of financial security is a very personal thing and depends to some degree on what you consider to be a minimum standard of living.
At the very least, everyone needs a place to live, the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and heating, and sufficient resources to be able to enjoy life.
The basic elements of financial security are:
- Being debt free. This includes owning a home without debt as well as having no credit card or store card debt.
- Having enough money in reserve to cover unexpected expenses or unexpected loss of income. A basic rule of thumb is to have the equivalent of at least three months living expenses in reserve
- Having a secure income that is sufficient to maintain your desired standard of living. Securing your income requires keeping your skills up to date, maintaining good health and a good relationship with your partner or finding ways to generate passive income
- Having sufficient assets and investments to provide for your future needs. This includes your long term goals as well as your retirement needs.
- Being protected from financial risk through having adequate insurance cover, a diversified investment portfolio, and a means of protecting your assets in the event of business or relationship failure
Achieving financial security is difficult for those on low incomes. However, there are many instances where those on good incomes fail to put in place the basic elements of financial security and suffer badly when they have a sudden in change in their circumstances.
You may not be frequently giving out an embarrassingly gushing smile and you might not write little love notes during your lunch break. But, there are ways to tell if you love your job.
Of course, no job is perfect -- even the best of relationships have their down days. We all have to do things we don’t like. I love working at HubSpot, it's the best job I've ever had (but, that's by design). But, even I have “off” days where I'm not spending all my time doing things I absolutely love.
So all of the following may not be the case all of the time. But when you love your job, many of the following should be the case much of the time:
1. You don’t talk about other people; you talk about the cool things other people are doing.
“I hear Michelle has really improved our customer happiness scores.” or “I’d love to know how Mike managed to rescue that sale.” “Sherry developed a new tool that's made our lives so much better.”
When you love your job you don’t gossip about the personal failings of others. You talk about their successes, because you’re happy for them – and because you’re happy with yourself.
2. You think, “I hope I get to…” instead of, “I hope I don’t have to…”
When you love your job it’s like peeling an onion. There are always more layers to discover and explore.
When you hate your job it’s also like peeling an onion – but all you discover are more tears.
3. You see your internal and external customers not as people to satisfy but simply as people.
They aren't numbers. You think of them as real people who have real needs.
And you gain a real sense of fulfillment and purpose from taking care of those needs.
4. You enjoy your time at work.
You don't have to put in time at work and then escape to life to be happy. You believe in enjoying life and enjoying work.
When you love your job, it’s a part of your life. You feel alive and joyful not just at home – but also at work.
5. You would recommend working at your company to your best friend…
In fact, you can't stop talking about how cool your company is and the awesome work you're doing even when you're away from work. Your friends and family are envious.
6. You enjoy attending meetings.
No, seriously, you enjoy meetings. Why? Because it’s fun to be at the center of thoughtful, challenging discussions that lead to decisions, initiatives, and changes – changes you get to be a part of.
7. You don’t think about surviving. You think about winning.
You don't worry much about losing your job. You're more worried about not achieving your potential. Not being as impactful as you can be.
8. You see your manager as a person you work with, not for.
You feel valued. You feel respected.
You feel trusted.
9. You don’t want to let your coworkers down.
Not because you’ll get in trouble or get a bad performance review, but because you admire them – and you want them to admire you.
10. You hardly ever look at the clock.
You’re too busy making things happen. When you do look at the clock, you often find that the time has flown.
11. You view success in terms of fulfillment and gratification – not just promotions and money.
Everyone wants to be promoted. Everyone wants to earn more.
You definitely feel that way too… but somewhere along the way your job has come to mean a lot more to you than just a paycheck. And if you left this job, even if for a lot higher salary… you would still miss it.
12. You leave work with items on your to-do list you’re excited about tackling tomorrow.
Many people cross the “fun” tasks off their to-do lists within the first hour or two.
You often have cool stuff – new initiatives, side projects, hunches you want to confirm with data, people you want to talk to – left over when it’s time to go home.
13. You help without thinking.
You like seeing your colleagues succeed, so it’s second nature to help them out. You pitch in automatically.
And they do the same for you.
14. You can't imagine being somewhere else.
You're having too much fun. Learning too much.
How many of the above statements apply to you and your job?
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Oh, and by the way, you should follow me on twitter: @dharmesh.
Blending big data with intuitive software, Baltimore start-up RedOwl Analytics is one to watch.
On Wall Street, pending lawsuits and insider trading are a recipe for PR disaster. Clients pack up to take their business and money elsewhere, and the legal fees start piling up.
RedOwl Analytics, a Baltimore, Maryland-based start-up, hopes to minimize those risks by harnessing the power of big data.
The start-up tracks workers' behavior on a near-constant basis, paying special attention to their digital trails on Gchat, Blackberry, and email. It's like a high tech whistleblower no one can hear.
The data RedOwl unearths can be a gold mine for companies when facing the liability of an employee-turned-criminal. For those already in court, having that data in their pocket might save their case and prove the employee acted alone.
"We thought hard about who might be interested in this sort of information and we realized a number of private sector and financial companies would," said Renny McPherson, RedOwl's director of business development and strategy. "There's so much liability in that data. We saw that banks had paid billions in legal fees in the past few years and tens of billions of fines in the past few years, so we thought, 'There has to be a better way.'"
After several test pilots, RedOwl can finally suss out wayward behaviors before and after they've turned into crime. The software is customizable and can be programmed with a data set using the company's own internal infrastructure or a secure, cloud-based format. From there, the data is visualized, making it easy for employers to ask questions and find a solution.
"We'd love to get to the point where people can start asking questions [of the data] on their own," said McPherson, whose start-up is still in its early stage with only 17 full-time employees.
"RedOwl started when a group of statisticians, software engineers, and intelligence veterans who came together to harness three macro-trends," he recalled. Those newly minted PhDs were looking at "advances in inferential statistics, the scalability and cost of cloud computing, and the ever-growing liability to defend against (and exploit) the corporate digital trail."
Not surprisingly, the idea won over judges at the InvestMaryland Challenge in April and raised a seed round of funding in 2011, soon after its launch.
Before RedOwl seeks Series A funding early next year, McPherson plans to roll out the full version of its software this fall.
RedOwl, which derives its name from the color of a siren and the nocturnal bird's wisdom, is based in Baltimore, a start-up hub better known for its work in life sciences than in big data. Still, McPherson said he couldn't imagine working anywhere else.
"Baltimore has a burgeoning and exciting start-up scene," he said, noting his office is "two floors below a tremendous tech incubator Betamore and next door to ParkingPanda."
That excitement wasn't lost on RedOwl CEO Guy Filippelli, who moved to Baltimore so he could take advantage of the city's technical talent.
In terms of competitors, McPherson said he has few, though RedOwl's biggest challenge remains convincing employers they'll find it invaluable.
"Given the attention we have paid to the value of this sophisticated tech, and an appreciation for the human analysis needed with that tech, we see this providing a great solution over time," he said. "The more we keep testing this out, it's just going to be of greater and greater value."
He added, "If we have success, people will crop up to do something similar, but what we're doing is really unique."
It's already one of the year's fastest growing apps. CEO Sean Rad reveals his grand plan to change the way people meet.
At 27 years old, Sean Rad has already been a successful entrepreneur once. In 2009, he scored his first big hit when he founded ad.ly, which helps brands land celebrity endorsements on social media. Now he's on to his second act: Tinder, which has become the App Store's fast-growing mobile dating app. Rad claims that the app has led to 50 million matches and 10 marriages since it launched this fall.
It's a simple concept: Unlike most online dating platforms, there are no profiles or questionnaires to fill out. Instead, users sign up through Facebook, select a couple pictures, and enter their gender, location, and sexual preference. The app then serves up photos of other nearby users. They can swipe left if they're not interested or right if they are. When two people both "like" each other, only then can they send each other messages. In just a few short months, Tinder has already generated 4.7 billion profile ratings and is being downloaded more frequently than all other dating apps.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles-based start-up, backed by IAC, launched a new feature called Matchmaker, that lets users make introductions between their Facebook friends, whether or not they're already on Tinder. It's all part of Rad's mission to reinvent the way people meet.
He recently sat down with Inc. to discuss Tinder's exponential growth, how he plans on making money (someday), and why so many other entrepreneurs are using his product.
What inspired you to start Tinder in the first place?
The idea for Tinder came along when I started thinking about the fact that there are a lot of great platforms that help us communicate with people we already know, but there isn't a way for me to meet new people.
In the real world, you're either a hunter or you're being hunted. If you're a hunter, there's constant rejection. And if you're hunted, you're constantly being bombarded. And the current solutions actually make these problems worse. With other dating apps, I can reach out to more people if I'm a hunter, and I can be hunted more easily. I never used those apps, none of my friends ever used those apps, and I couldn't understand why until that aha! moment happened. None of these apps were solving the fundamental problem.
So, how do you solve it?
On Tinder, you anonymously say if you're interested in somebody, and if that person happens to be interested in you, you can have a conversation. If they're not interested, they never know you liked them anyway, so you don't feel embarrassed. And for the person who's being hunted, we take away that overwhelming experience.
You've grown pretty fast. When did things really take off?
It happened around January. We had been picking up on college campuses, then everyone went home and told their cousins and older brothers and friends about it, and all of a sudden Tinder started growing like a virus. Ad.ly was hot real fast and then kind of slowed down. Tinder got hot real fast, and it's only gotten hotter. Throughout my entire career, I've always heard people say that scalability issues are a luxurious problems to have. Maybe they're luxurious problems, but they're some of the most challenging things I've ever had to deal with.
What was the biggest issue?
We built Tinder as a prototype and anticipated it was going to take off, but we never anticipated it was going to take off this fast. So we really built prototype code. Once we got hit with the demand, our challenge was not only maintaining the current system, but building the new one at the same time. So imagine you're flying at 100 mph and the engine is breaking while you're in midair, and you're fixing that engine while you're building a new one in the air. It's a very challenging and emotional thing.
Where'd the idea for Matchmaker, the new feature, come from?
Our vision is to be the platform that you think about when it comes to meeting somebody new under any context, not just dating. We plan to solve that problem in every way you can approach it. With Matchmaker, you can create a match between any two of your Facebook friends. If they're on Tinder they can talk right there, and if they're not, we'll message them on Facebook and get them to sign up for Tinder and open that dialogue. You can imagine how this could be applied to business or dating, or just about anything.
How are you going to make money on all of this?
We come up with ideas everyday, but we shelve them. It's a function of having time to think about it. Right now, we're prioritizing our product ambitions first. We have 50 million matches and a vast audience. When it gets to a point where we've perfected Matchmaker, too, then we'll start to focus on ways to monetize it. If our goal is to help you meet new people, then our revenue model will help that transaction happen faster through in-app purchases. We can charge for better features and capabilities. One thing we won't do is monetize in a way that takes away from user experience or offer features that are core to the product and gate them behind a pay wall. We want to charge for giving you more value, not for interacting with us in a basic way.
We took Tinder for a test drive and stumbled across a bunch of entrepreneurs, including a Winklevoss twin. Are you seeing a lot of traction among other tech founders?
Oh tons! Actually, both of the Winklevoss twins are on there. There are a lot of celebrities, who I can't name, because I'd get in trouble. There are billionaires using it, a slew of entrepreneurs, and a couple who are CEOs of very big start-ups right now. I face the same problem they do. Everyone thinks since I'm CEO of Tinder I go on dates left and right, but I'm the worst at dating, because I have no time. This just solves so many problems.
Why did you stay in Los Angeles instead of making the predictable move to Silicon Valley?
You hear a lot of, "This is the best place to build a company. No, that place is the best place." I think it's all a crock of shit. You can build a great company anywhere. There's amazing talent everywhere. Your job as an entrepreneur is to find and exploit that talent. L.A.'s an amazing city. Sure, San Francisco has a much deeper DNA in tech, but there are negative attributes, too, because you're in an echo chamber and less connected to the mainstream user.
You've had a lot of success at a young age. Any advice to other founders who are just starting out?
You should only start a company because you can't sleep at night until you solve a certain problem, and I think those problems need to find you. If you're starting a company for the sake of starting a company, you're going to fail. If it's not coming out of this irrational need to see this vision to fruition, when those all-nighters for a month in a row start to take a toll on your body, unless you have this immense will to see it through, it can break you. Start-ups are difficult. And that's when things are going well.
Privacy policies are great regret-management tools. You can act now...or be forced to act later. Want to get going? Here's how.
1. Simplify and Consolidate
Privacy policies should be easy to understand.
What's likely happened is that your lawyer has drawn up a policy that the average Joe might not be able to understand. You shouldn't ditch it, but you can re-write it in layman language; separate disclosures into two sections: Plain English and Legalese.
Notify users of proposed changes to privacy policies. You build trust if you publicly post proposed policy changes and allow for your user base to comment on them before you implement them. Though this may slow product development, it will prevent the backlash experienced by Instagram, Facebook, and Path. In the past, Instagram suffered from unclear data ownership policies, and Path got in trouble for storing user contacts without explicit permission. Later, Path make phone calls to some of those contacts and e-mailed them about photos on Path, causing another uproar.
If your app needs to use user data, ask first, and let the user know what the data will be used for. These kinds of community concerns are important and will prevent people from losing trust in your brand and company.
2. Present Privacy Controls at the Point of Content Creation
Build trust and confidence with users by exposing privacy controls with every piece of content that can be created or shared in a given system. Instagram and Foursquare do this particularly well. Instagram displays sharing options for social networks every time a photo is posted to Instagram. Simple on/off switches make it easy to toggle where an Instagram post goes to. Foursquare allows users to check in "off the grid" with ease by simply pressing a button on the check-in screen. Be consistent, and be open, and your users will thank you for it.
3. Make Privacy Universal
Privacy consideration should be incorporated into every aspect of an app's lifecycle. This includes Web, legal, user experience, messaging, marketing, and development. Privacy policies need to be implemented across company divisions to make sure they work. From the user experience perspective, consolidate and simplify settings and permissions. Market your apps as respecting user privacy and data ownership. Develop your applications with privacy and user empowerment in mind, especially when storing and accessing sensitive data. Ensure your users understand what they are opting into and what giving their data will give them in return. The right messaging makes a big difference.
4. Remember: No One is Perfect
Hosting user data is a privilege, not a right. Apologize immediately when you make a mistake, and fix the problem immediately. Keep abreast of the current industry and it's regulations, and you'll be free and clear of complications. And remember, fight for your users and they will fight for you!
*Thirty percent of apps had privacy policies in Sept 2011. By June, 2012, 48 percent did, according to this June 2012 FPF Mobile Apps Study. Accessed 13 May 2013. http://www.balough.com/uploadedFiles/Mobile-Apps-Study-June-2012.pdf
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