Category: tzrcaw

  • ACA “Cadillac” Tax Repeal

    first_imgThe House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) so-called “Cadillac” excise tax on high-cost employer insurance plans.  Unless the Senate takes up the repeal and passes it, the tax is set to kick in 2022.The Cadillac tax is not just a tax to raise revenue.  The tax will limit the tax benefit of providing employees with high-cost insurance benefits as opposed to taxable wages.Employer Sponsored Insurance ExclusionCurrently, money paid into an employer-sponsored health plan is excluded from the employee’s income.  The employee pays no income tax, and no payroll tax.Employees like this benefit, of course. They are generally happy to take a significant share of their compensation as an employer health plan benefits.  Where employees have leverage, they tend to negotiate high-cost health plans in exchange for somewhat lower taxable wages or salaries.Employers are fine with the benefit too, even though the tax break goes to the employee.  In a competitive labor market, the money an employer would spend for plan benefits would otherwise go to its employees as wages.Note too that the employer sponsored insurance exclusion provides a bit of a larger overall compensation pie since the IRS is not taking a slice.  That provides an opportunity for employees and employees to improve both of their respective positions by tilting compensation towards health insurance benefits.  Any employer that does not have a tax efficient mix of benefits will put itself at a competitive disadvantage in a competitive labor market.The Goals of the Cadillac Tax The ACA framers hoped that the Cadillac tax would encourage employers to shape their compensation packages away from high-cost health plans towards a mix of lower-cost insurance and higher wage compensation.Containing medical costs is an ACA goal.  The problem with high-cost health plans from an ACA perspective is that they pour in lots of cash into the medical resources markets.  That puts upward pressure on the price of medical services.Another reason for the tax is that it would produce tax revenue for other ACA benefits.  Employer sponsored health insurance benefits are not taxed to employees due to the exclusion. But wages are.   The tax would tend to fall on higher income employees so the change would be progressive, the thinking goes.The Cadillac Tax is on “Excess Benefits” The tax would generally apply to the value of health insurance benefits over certain amounts. When it goes into effect in 2022, these amounts are projected to be over $11,000 for self-only plans, and $30, 000 for other plans.  There are adjustments for older retirees and employees in high-risk jobs, among others.  In general, these are among the top 5 percent or so of plans.The Cadillac tax does not change the employer sponsored insurance exclusion.  The tax is solely on the employer.  Nevertheless, the Cadillac tax would take a big slice out of the overall compensation pie for employers and employees that use high-cost plans.There would no longer be a big lump of untaxed benefit that employees could seek through trading off wages for insurance.RatesThe Cadillac tax rate is set at about the average marginal payroll and income tax on employees.  True, the tax is 40 percent and marginal tax rates on employees tends to be a lot less.  However, unlike employee payroll and income taxes, the Cadillac tax is calculated on an amount that does not include the tax itself.  When adjusted for that fact, the rates are similar.For example, if the taxed excess benefit is $100, the Cadillac tax is $40.  If you add the amounts, the total is $140, and $40 of $140 is 28.6 percent. For purposes of comparison, if an employee pays $40 in tax on $140 in wages, the tax rate is also 28.6 percent tax.So if the Cadillac tax were applied like an income or payroll tax, its rate would be 28.6 percent.  That rate is pretty close to the average marginal tax rate for income and payroll taxes for most employees.  This is not an accident.  It means that an employer whose employees are relatively well paid would no longer have an incentive to offer more generous health care benefits instead of more generous wages.DeductionOriginally, employers could not deduct the Cadillac tax but that was changed by Congress.  So some of this effect is weakened for corporate employers.If and When the Tax Goes into EffectThe Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Bill (HR 748) cleared the House on July 17 by a 419-to-6 vote.  Senators would be happy to vote the tax out of existence (both employers and unions oppose it), except the Senate might not have time this session.If the Cadillac tax is not repealed, employers can avoid the tax altogether by trimming the insurance benefit a bit.  In competitive labor markets, employers would need to shift compensation to higher wages.  But that would not obviously disadvantage employers since other employers would have to do the same.Union contracts would be stickier to undo, but union negotiators will know there no longer is a tax free benefit for high-cost plans on the table.Unless an employer insists on keeping a high-cost plan, the Cadillac tax poses more of a Human Resources puzzle than it does a serious tax issue. By James Solheim, J.D.Login to read more on CCHAnswerConnect.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

  • The Science Behind 4K Restorations of Classic Films

    first_imgHow do you feel about 4K restorations of classic films? Let us know in the comments. What Does It All Mean?Sadly, it means you’re never going to see a classic film as it was originally intended to be seen unless you saw it when it came out. However, you are able to see restored digital versions that are much closer to the original prints (and in some ways, much better) than ever before.This process is also a way to save films that have never been converted from their original negatives from being lost forever. (Like Eagle Pennell’s Last Night at the Alamo, which was restored by SXSW’s Louis Black.)You can even watch them on your couch or in your room if you’d like. Or, if you want the most authentic and aesthetically pleasing experience, you can see them on the big screens with popcorn and friends, like they were meant to be seen — In which case I would highly recommend this one. There’s something magical about seeing a digitally restored film as it was intended — on the big screen. It captures something that’s lost when you stream on your laptop. But what is that something?Cover image via Time & Life PicturesI recently saw a 4K restoration of the Coen Brother’s film Blood Simple at an indie art house theater. I had seen the film once before, but it was several years ago as a DVD-ripped Xvid played through an Xbox 360. To say the least, it wasn’t the same experience.Psychologically, it feels different to sit in a theater surrounded by other people who are there to enjoy the same film in their own ways the same as you. The aroma of popcorn fills the air as the lights go down and the screen lights up. It’s been described as a collective dream state, but it also harkens to our own nostalgia and fantasies.Not that we don’t get the same feelings when we watch a movie alone in our rooms. But part of the something lost is the aesthetics of it all. The other part is the actual information that was contained in the original film. Let’s explore how film works and what you really lose in those low-quality streams and torrents.The Origins of Digital RestorationThe majority of film was recorded to 35mm film stock. 65mm and 70mm were also popular and used for big-budget productions throughout most of the 20th century. Without getting into a debate about how digital stacks up to analog recording (we’ll leave that to Keanu Reeves to sort out), the celluloid process has historically recorded images at a much higher resolution than could be reproduced on DVD or Blu-ray. That being said, when many of the classic films were first transferred to DVD (or “restored” in HD), they were still drastically dumbing down the quality and decreasing the amount of information contained in each frame.How-to Geek has a great write-up on how the process works and the inherent flaws in the early days of “digital restoration.” Here’s a good example of DVD-quality remastering vs. Blu-ray.Ben-Hur SD DVD:Ben-Hur Blu-ray:Images via How-to Geek and Metro-Goldwyn-MayerThe above screen capture doesn’t even show off the true potential for detail the 65mm film master can provide. A future remastering of the film coupled with a large 4K HDTV set could yield a viewing experience that lets you count the creases in bridles and the hairs on the horses’ heads.So to put that in perspective, if you’re watching an old “HD” DVD of your favorite movie (or ripping it online), you’re several steps removed from the original recording. But that was ten years ago — what about now?Getting Closer with 4K RestorationsNow, with the advent of 4K as the successor to HD, digital restorations are able to jump up to a much higher resolution. Is it the same though as the film print? Not quite, but that’s because film doesn’t work in the same way exactly. There isn’t a resolution pixel count in film like there is in digital. So, if you blow up an image from film to 100x the size, the lines will look the same — just blurrier. Here’s a great article by Sony UK on their restoration process and examples of the 2k to 4K difference.2K (Simulated)4K (Simulated)As you can see, the image is sharper at the higher resolution with color and contrast more defined. Sony has worked with restoration specialists like Park Circus to 4K restore films like Citizen Kane, Psycho, and Ghostbusters to name a few.Digital Remastering Literally RestoresOne other neat part of the restoration process includes the work of digital artists to clean up and “fix” parts of classic films that have had debris or scratches mar their original negatives. The process, as detailed in a 2014 Gizmodo article and video, is actually quite fascinating in the painstaking time digital artists take to restore everything from grain to sound design to adding additional contrast and color correction as needed. Here are a few examples:Images from Jaws (1975) via NOLA.com and Universal PicturesImage from Foreign Correspondent (1940) via Gizmodo and United ArtistsYou can watch the full video below which details the process from start to finish. It is worth noting that the restoration below is for 2k rather than 4K because they were on a time crunch — “In 2k the scanning takes about 2 days. In 4K it takes four times as long, so you would need at least a week to scan a 90-minute movie.” But the restoration process, at its base, is the same.last_img read more

  • How this Indian teacher entered the Guinness Book of World Records

    first_imgWhere there is a will there is a way, this old saying was proved true by a 31-year-old teacher in Maharashtra when he made a Guinness World Record of becoming the fastest person to arrange the letters of the English alphabet on stencil board, reports Hindustan Times. According to the report, Vijay Pawbake, a resident of Vangaon in Dahanu made his way into the Guinness Book of World Records by clocking 28.45 seconds. He is the first Indian ever to achieve this feat. He did that by defeating the earlier record holder, Helen Strether of United Kingdom, who had achieved the feat in 30.05 seconds.Read it at Financial Express Related Itemslast_img read more

  • ICC World Twenty20: Shahid Afridi likely to be sacked as Pakistan captain

    first_imgPakistan’s World T20 loss to India could spell the end of Shahid Afridi’s rein as captain with the country’s cricket board planning to sack him irrespective of the team’s performance in the remainder of the tournament.”There is clear discontent in the board about Afridi’s performances and captaincy and even if he decides against retiring after the World T20, the board will not retain him as captain any longer and even his days as a player are ending now,” a Pakistan Cricket Board source said. (Also read: Pakistan daily slams Shahid Afridi’s team after Eden Gardens debacle) “The Board is also privately not happy with the media statements of Afridi and believe it is time to move on,” he said. (Massive rift erupts in Pakistan team)Sources told PTI that PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has indicated even the current selection committee could be disbanded after the World T20.”No matter whether Pakistan reaches the semi-finals or even wins the title the selection committee headed by Haroon Rasheed is on its way out,” one source confided. (Kohli, Afridi most mentioned on Facebook in India-Pakistan match)He said the inquiry committee formed by the board to probe into the performance of the team in the Asia Cup had already held three meetings and them expressed discontent with the performance of the selectors and management.In one of the meetings the committee members questioned chief selector Haroon Rashid and the other selectors Saleem Jaffer, Azhar Khan and Kabir Khan separately.”What emerged was that some of the selectors complained Haroon kept them isolated on some key decisions while the chief selector blamed the captain and coach for some of the players selected in recent times,” the source said.advertisementHe said that the Board was also contemplating appointing a new coach and would not extend Waqar Younis’ contract when it expires before the tour to England in summer.”Initially the plan was to extend Waqar’s contract till the England tour but now this seems unlikely and there is discussion going on about having a foreign coach or a local one,” another source disclosed.Pakistan’s former Test pacer Aaqib Javed who has worked as coach with the national under-19 and A teams and was also the bowling coach with the senior team is tipped to replace Waqar if the PCB does not opt for a foreigner.last_img read more

  • Getting married in Delhi? Stop. Don’t go ahead until you’ve read this

    first_imgThe heavy gold jewellery stays in the locker and reds and pinks have given way to taupe and power blue; the runup to the D-day is all about spa appointments for the bride and groom and catering is the most carefully crafted affair. The big fat Delhi wedding is all,The heavy gold jewellery stays in the locker and reds and pinks have given way to taupe and power blue; the runup to the D-day is all about spa appointments for the bride and groom and catering is the most carefully crafted affair. The big fat Delhi wedding is all about elaborate planning, contemporary influences and attention to detail.Wedding WowsRANI PINKMatches may be made in heaven, but the big fat Indian wedding is made by some of the most skillful creative visualisers in the city. With opulent set-ups, picturesque destinations, out-of-the-box themes, the Indian wedding isn’t just getting bigger and better, it is turning into an affair to remember. “The biggest trend this wedding season is going traditional with a twist of contemporary.Think Paris meets Jaipur or a retro take on Mughal,” says Anika Dhawan Gupta, co-founder, Rani Pink, the quirkily named wedding design company that is making waves in the Capital’s wedding scene with its glamorous yet fun reimagination of an Indian wedding. Dhawan Gupta, along with her business partner Abhinav Mishra, decided to turn entrepreneurs in 2010, after gaining work experience under another wedding planner. The company was named after Dhawan Gupta’s favourite colour and is one that can be found in abundance in every project the Rani Pink team undertakes. It was in 2014, when the wedding designer got hitched, that she understood the intricacies of her business venture.Apart from made-to-order, Rani Pink’s forte has been creating look books for every wedding season. With readymade decor looks, Fantasy is one look that is all about sequins with layered cascading, and another, Summer Blossom uses over-sized vibrant elements but is low on arrangements. But does Rani Pink get some bizarre requests as well? “They are never too bizarre for us, however many weddings take a leaf out of Bollywood and requests can get filmy and interesting,” says the designer. Ask Dhawan Gupta about what she thinks will be the next big trend in wedding decor, she says that florals will continue to rule the design look book this season as well. “The use of flowers in a minimalistic but stylised fashion is a trend that’s growing. In addition to that, installations as a concept is also something that is becoming huge,” she says. At 114B, Shahpurjat Contact 41027906advertisementSpot OnTHE LEELA AMBIENCE CONVENTION HOTEL, DELHISome of the best memories are created in the most predictable places. While the choice of a banquet hall might sound cliched, but some venues make the cut with their grandeur and immaculate service. The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi is one such beautiful venue. Organising a wedding in one of the many lavish locations in this hotel can make for a great experience.The hotel boasts of having India’s largest pillarfree banquet hall in a luxury hotel ballroom-spanning an area of 25,000sq ft-that can accommodate up to a whooping 6,000 people as a floating crowd and 2,500 people in a theatre-style set-up. It can be further divided into five smaller spaces of differing sizes for various dos. For outdoor venues, you can pick from four spectacular options such as their outdoor patio and garden. With facilities like these, the hotel has played host to quite a few grand weddings. Talking about the latest trends in Indian weddings, Jaideep Anand, General Manager, says, “A recent trend is of environment-friendly weddings, which is a very important aspect that we, at The Leela are passionate about.Many weddings are now celebrated without the mandatory crackers and loud music, which in turn leads to minimal pollution. Even in terms of dcor and design, people are opting for a more understated setup that is sophisticated and elegant. So traditional mogra, silver and gold are being replaced by baby breaths, delicate hues of soft pinks and vintage tones.” Price Starts at Rs 2,500 per plate Contact The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi 1 CBD, Maharaja Surajmal Road, Near Yamuna Sports ComplexDestination DestressSIX SENSES SPA AT JAYPEE GREENS GOLF & SPA RESORTWedding time can be stressful for the bride and groom, who begin preparing for it days in advance to ensure everything looks great and works out perfectly on their special day. So what better way to destress before the big day than to hit a spa. Head to the Six Senses Spa at Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort this wedding season for a relaxing day with your partner.Set amidst sixty acres of pristine land in Greater Noida, this stateof-the-art spa boasts of twentythree treatment areas, specialist therapy areas for ayurveda, Watsu therapy, detoxification, Moroccanstyle Hammam suites, a meditation cave, hair and beauty salon and much more. There are a host of services here that you can choose from-from signature massages, facials, wraps and scrubs, extensive international therapies to locally-inspired treatments. However, Dr Rajneesh Kumar, Spa and Wellness Manager, Six Senses Spa at Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort, recommends the Couples Hammam for the to-be-weds. It begins with warm herbal steam bath, followed by deep exfoliation using hammam mitt, then a signature massage and Moroccan mask, ending with hair and scalp cleansing.advertisement”This traditional Turkish experience helps detoxify and rejuvenate the body and promote tranquillity,” says Kumar. Besides this, at Six Senses, they can customise treatments basis your requirement. On offer at the spa are a host of pre-bridal treatments and packages. Price Rs 9,000 plus taxes for a ple hamam of 80 minutes At G – Block Greater Noida Block, RT Nagar Tel 120-2339900Dress CodeDESIGNER SHREYA JAINWedding wear is no longer about heavy fabrics, all-over zari or aari work or fussy embellishments. The modern bride is in fact, on a constant look-out for a harmonious mix of the old and the new-modern cuts and stylish silhouettes using traditional fabrics. The predictable maroon and reds have been replaced by taupe, turquoise, powder blue and blushing pinks.And leading this bandwagon is designer Shreya Jain, 34, who began her design journey with a one-tailor setup in a small workshop in old Delhi, and subsequently launched her label, Shreya Jain in 2006. She started off with supplying her designs to the famous store, Raisons in South Extension Market and has now added yet another feature to her cap with the launch of her own flagship store in the posh Meherchand market, where she is showcasing her latest wedding collection. Jain, who draws heavily from the Indian heritage of textiles and embroidery believes in fusing ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship with modern silhouettes to create wedding wear with a difference.Not one to blindly follow fashion trends, Jain says, “My design ethos is very clear-I like my clothes to reflect Indian tradition but in a modern avtaar. I think people should wear clothes that suit their body shape, size and most importantly, their personality and not just blindly go in for whatever is vogue. And when they come to me, I make sure they do.” Talking about current wedding trends, she says, “Although most brides and grooms like to wear traditional outfits on their wedding day, they resort to more modern cuts for other rituals and occasions. Inspired by Bollywood stars, people now want to look like celebrities too.”Jain’s deep understanding of the heritage and design is reflected in her outfits that have contemporary silhouettes but remind one of vintage heirlooms. Perfect for the modern bride, we say. Price Rs 1,00,000 onwards for Banarsi lehengas At 112, Meharchand Market, Lodhi Colony Tel 11-49056260, 9811410866All that GlittersPC JEWELLERThe contemporary bride ‘thinks and plans’ her jewellery rather than sticking to the hand-me-downs. Her horizon has moved way beyond the typical jewellery which Indian brides have been sporting for years. And PC Jeweller is trying to cater to the new-age bride’s dream wedding jewellery. Their new Inayat range is all about the needs of the modern woman.advertisement”Wedding jewellery is no more about gold. The new brides need more than just gold as an investment. They want to wear it and flaunt it-be it solitaires or polki sets or a simple diamond pendant,” says Prerna Dhawan, 29, the creator of Inayat range. Inayat has been conceptualised by PC Jeweller as a collection that would serve the changing needs of a modern girl. Perhaps the biggest shift in the Indian wedding industry is in the colours. The Indian bride has finally moved over the typical choices and is experimenting and how.”They are ready to try anything from pastel shades to neon hues. And the best part is that they also know how to carry it well. Our collection has many designs with fresh enamel colors like peach, light blush pink, sea green, etc. that go well with pastel shades in lehengas and saris that are trending this season,” says the young designer. Price Rs 1.2 lakhs onwards At PC Jeweller, 2708, Bank Street, Karol Bagh Tel 47104810Food on the GoTHE LALIT FOOD TRUCKOne of the most important discussion topics in Delhi weddings is often the number of food counters. While we’ve been seeing counters of almost every fathomable cuisine, it’ll indeed be exciting to find a food truck at a wedding. The Lalit Food Truck will soon be spotted at one of the Delhi weddings. “After catering at college fests (IIT Delhi, Jindal Global University, SRM etc), birthday parties, corporate parties, food festivals, we will now be catering at highend weddings this season,” says Keshav Suri, 31, executive director, The Lalit Food Truck Company.With a capacity of catering for to 1,200-1,500 people, eating food from this truck at a wedding would surely be a novel experience. “The Lalit Food Truck will offer authentic Mexican dishes like quesadillas, crispy tacos, tortilla wraps, besides the popular falafel, burgers, churros and hand-cut fries,” says Suri. Contact facebook.com/TheLalitFTClast_img read more

  • Virat Kohli is the greatest batsman of his generation, declares Kevin Pietersen

    first_imgVirat Kohli broke a plethora of records and I’m tempted to say…yet again.The Indian captain struck his 20th Test ton during the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi as India finished Day 1 of the third Test on 371/4.Kohli and Murali Vijay (155) stitched a 283-run stand for the third wicket to take India into a dominating position at the end of the first day.Kohli (156)  and Rohit (6) remained not out at the end of day’s play.However, the day belonged to the Indian captain…like most days whenever he steps into the field.The 29-year-old surpassed the great Sachin Tendulkar (107) to become the second fastest Indian batsman to score 20 hundreds in Test cricket. Sunil Gavaskar heads the list having reached the milestone in just 93 innings while Kohli got there in his 105th innings.He is also the quickest to complete 52 international centuries across formats, achieving the feat in his 350th innings to beat South African Hashim Amla’s record of 378 innings.Overall, Kohli is placed in fifth place behind Don Bradman (55), Gavaskar (93), Matthew Hayden (95) and Steve Smith (99).Kohli also went past 5000 Test runs in the same match today to become the fourth-quickest Indian to achieve the feat in his 105th innings.Reacting to another of his another of his tons, social media hailed the king.The greatest batsman of his generation. He is on a different level to any current batsmen – @imVkohli!- KP (@KP24) December 2, 2017The run machine continues. Three consecutive 100s for @imVkohli #INDvSL pic.twitter.com/sevr4oLuidadvertisement- BCCI (@BCCI) December 2, 2017?? ? ??,??? ?? ?? ??…Virat ?? ?? ?? ?….52nd International Ton…. #IndvSL- Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 2, 20173rd century in 3 innings. Salute to the modern master @imVkohli . What an inspiration !#INDvsSL- Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) December 2, 2017My twins trying to acknowledge Virat’s 150 but continue with the Christmas decorations, or should I say vandalism. #INDvSL pic.twitter.com/Bdov4Z8mRk- Brendan Taylor (@BrendanTaylor86) December 2, 2017It’s the eighth time he’s scored 150! Well played @imVkohli! ??? #INDvSL pic.twitter.com/P80wWotcFA- ICC (@ICC) December 2, 2017Sometimes you get to see a batsman in complete control of a situation, almost looking invincible. At this stage, Virat Kohli is in that zone.- Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 2, 2017Dominating performance boys! Congrats on your 100s. Congrats on your 11th 100 @mvj888 and no words for you @imVkohli 3 consecutive 100s and 3000 runs as captain. @BCCI !!Just awesome. ??????#IndvsSL ??????? pic.twitter.com/7YKoR7glnY- Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) December 2, 2017Congratulations Champion @imVkohli for 5000 Test runs nd another century??? well done Monk @MurliVijay1 keep it up #INDvSL- Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) December 2, 2017last_img read more

  • People’s Choice: This Week’s Most Popular Articles

    first_img Share Starting out small and paying attention to the little details makes all the difference when you’re laying out an email, ebook, or blog post. Read this blog post to learn how to take your design skills to the next level using typography.How to Build a Successful Native Advertising Campaign Share Share We feel compelled to purchase expensive diamond engagement rings despite the fact that they are worth at least 50% less than what you pay for them the moment you leave the jewelry store. This blog posts takes a critical look at how De Beers used marketing to manipulate the demand for diamonds from nothing to a must-have symbol of love and commitment.You’re Going to Waste 31 Hours in Meetings This Month Social Media Engagement Share Last week, we tested out a new roundup format — the content our readers thought was good enough to share with their friends, coworkers, and maybe even family. Despite this content’s popularity on social media, it’s possible you missed these stories. So take a chance to catch up on the five most-shared posts from this past week. Better Content Through Chemicals? How Caffeine, Alcohol, & Other Substances Affect Creativity Topics: Share Ever wondered how substances like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana affect creativity and production? Read this blog post to find out!Typography 101: Everything a Beginner Should Know In order to drive business success and impress your CEO, marketing and IT need to learn how to combine their respective talents and strengths. Read this blog post to learn how you can align your marketing and IT teams.The Engagement Ring Story: How De Beers Created a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry From the Ground Up Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 15, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Native advertising is the current “it” tactic for marketers. This blog post outlines the six essential things required to create a successful lead generation campaign using native advertising.80% of CEOs Aren’t Impressed With Marketers: How IT Can Change Their Mind Share Remarkably, 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings, and most employees attend 62 meetings every month. This blog post explains exactly why meetings aren’t working and how you can make your meetings more productive.What was the most interesting thing you learned this week on Inbound Hub? What do you want to see more of? Leave your feedback in the comments!last_img read more

  • 7 Hilarious Twitter Brand Hashtag Fails

    first_imgWhy does the Ventra logo look like a guy hanging upside-down? Does that make it easier to collect money? #AskVentra pic.twitter.com/0b5vlIGZqL— MVP Rickshaw (@VeganPedicab) May 7, 20146) #OzsInboxDr. Oz decided to take to Twitter one day to choose his topics of conversation on his show. This ended up being a massive mistake. While he probably received some questions which needed to be answered the highlight of the hashtag were the amount of snarky jokes which were tweeted using the hashtag. Here are a few of the best:@DrOz #OzsInbox Which Starbucks roast should I use for the most effective coffee enema? I was thinking Sumatra, but Verona is so smooth.— Anowyn (@AnowynTweets) November 12, 2014 Why would #ilovewalgreens EVER be a trending topic????— Joel Onyshuk (@JoelOnyshuk) January 13, 20125) #AskVentraWhen Chicago Transit decided to update their method of payment, they did not expect the headache that it caused. In response they decided to host a Twitter Q&A to help alleviate some of the confusion. Before the Q&A even started the hashtag was flooded with more jabs at the system itself than any actual questions seeking answers. While it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, in the end #AskVentra was destined to join this fail list.MT @ryanlwilliams @VentraChicago enters elite ring of #AskJPM & #myNYPD, w/#AskVentra, which has devolved into chaos an hr before it starts.— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) May 7, 2014 @DrOz Is our plummeting morality due to the fleecing of our population by good looking authority figures? Or is it vaccines? #OzsInbox— Dr. Rob Lamberts (@doc_rob) November 12, 20147) #AskJPMAt this point it should be clear to see that if you are going to do a Twitter Q&A, make sure your company is essentially beyond reproach. JP Morgan didn’t get the memo, though. In the midst of government investigation, JP Morgan decided to host a Twitter Q&A. The response was so negative that they pulled the idea within 6 hours of announcing it. Essentially this is the branded hashtag that never had a chance. This hashtag fail became so popular that the best way to enjoy it is through a reading of the tweets themselves. Social Media Fails Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlackcenter_img Originally published Mar 12, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated March 12 2015 Topics: We all know that Twitter offers you the ability to create a trackable, branded hashtag. But have we really thought about the implications of this? You as the company choose the words, letters, and caps on the hashtag. This is a great opportunity to create a name for your company, but it is also a great opportunity to show that you have not planned at all for the branding monster you have just created.The following list includes major corporations, government agencies, and artists who failed in either the creation, execution, or use of their own branded hashtags. Don’t be like them. Create something amazing and memorable, for the right reasons.1) #McDstoriesBack in 2012, McDonalds decided to launch two branded hashtags at the same time for one campaign exposing the story behind the produce supply chain to their stores. The first hashtag was very specific: #meetthefarmers. The second hashtag was vague: #McDstories. While the first hashtag worked great for McDonalds, the second created a firestorm of negative tweets. McDonalds pulled the hashtag from promotion within two hours. This is still a fail that is living on in blog posts today.Ate a McFish and vomited 1 hour later….The last time I got McDonalds was seriously 18 years ago in college….. #McDstories— RSYP (@stilettochemist) January 24, 20122) #susanalbumpartyThis little known incident happened back in November of 2012. Susan Boyle was hosting an album party for her new album “Standing Ovation”. In the producers’ haste to promote the event, they posted a hashtag that unfortunately could be misread into a VERY different kind of party than an album release party. They quickly deleted the tweet but not after having it retweeted multiple times and seeing it become one of the top trending topics on Twitter.3) #QantasLuxuryThis branded hashtag seems pretty straightforward and innocent. However, in this campaign the marketing team forgot to check when it was scheduled to go live. While the ability to pre-schedule posts on social media platforms is a very useful tool sometimes campaigns need to be updated. Just a day after Qantas entire fleet was grounded due to failed contract negotiations, their latest Twitter contest campaign launched encouraging followers to tweet their ideal luxury flight experience. Twitter pandemonium ensued.4) #ILoveWalgreensWalgreens received backlash for this hashtag not because of any controversy as a company but because of how it executed the trend. For some reason the #ILoveWalgreens hashtag appears to be the first time the internet recognized that Twitter offered the opportunity for companies to purchase trending hashtags. While this was nothing new at the time, people seemed to be really confused as to why there was a “promoted” box beside the hashtag. Nevertheless people took the time to tweet their sentiments and poke fun at the hashtag.RT @Cloris_Leachman #iLoveWalgreens because when you walk in at 2am to buy toilet paper, shaving cream, & ski mask they don’t ask questions.— OhThatDonnaBrown (@ThatDonnaBrown) January 15, 2012last_img read more

  • Is an MBA Worth the Money?

    first_img Originally published Apr 24, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Career Development Here on the HubSpot Marketing Blog, I haven’t exactly made it a secret that I went to business school. It was an experience that provided two years’ worth of fodder, lessons learned, and other actionables that I like to share here.But there’s one question I have yet to answer, at least in this venue, about the time spent earning my MBA: Was it worth it?It’s a question I considered even before I began applying to different business schools, and one in which I’m certainly not alone. When I asked my colleagues if any of them had experienced the great “Should I get my MBA?” debate, there was a clamor of responses. Many of us — all marketing professionals — had experienced the same decision-making process, which made us realize how many other marketers out there must be going through the same thing. Download our complete guide to productivity here for more tips to improve your productivity.While the topic seems to be eternally up for debate, we agree that there are instances when people should, in fact, go for an MBA — but it’s important to have a clear idea of what those circumstances are, and if they really apply to you. And if they don’t, fear not: There are alternatives. We’ve outlined the factors that do make an MBA worth the investment — and the other things you can do until that day arrives.When an MBA Is Worth the Money1) When you know exactly what you want out of it.Before I began studying for the GMAT — the required admission exam for most MBA programs — I spent about five years deciding whether or not to apply to business school. I had a lot of questions, many of which were shared by my colleague, Mimi An, when she was faced with the same decision. For her, she told me:The biggest things to consider were if I was at a place where I couldn’t progress further in my career, if I wanted to change function or industry, if I wanted to move, and what exactly I wanted out of the degree. I couldn’t answer the last question. In fact, the answer was ‘no’ to most of my questions. I could still progress. I did not want to change function. I did not want to move. I didn’t know what I expected to get out of it.”According to Investopedia, the average cost of an MBA is $140,000 — and $260,000 if you’re not working or earning any income while you’re in school. Think of it this way: Would you spend that much on a luxury car or new condo if you weren’t sure why you were buying it? That’s a big chunk of change to spend on something that you aren’t certain is going to benefit you in some way.Of course, for many people, the answer to those questions is overwhelmingly “yes” — in fact, they were for me. At the time, I wasn’t progressing in my career and I wanted to move, which are two fundamental reasons why I ultimately made the decision to go to business school. But not everyone will have the same responses to those important questions, nor do they come easily to anyone — so be sure to put sufficient time into them.2) When your work isn’t teaching you what you need to grow.There’s an important point that An made in her quote above — how much room for growth you have in your current career trajectory, whether that means you’re able to progress in your current job, or do it elsewhere.If you’re not getting the right learning opportunities in your current workplace, but you’re also short on some of the skills to progress in another role or company, it might be time to think about getting an advanced degree. It’s what Jim O’Neill, HubSpot’s chief information officer, realized early in his career here, when he was also considering leaving to pursue an MBA.“I couldn’t get it out of my head that I’d be giving up more by leaving the company at that stage than I’d ever be able to learn in business school,” he said. “And while I still might want a graduate degree someday, I was lucky to stay, learn, and grow over the following six years.”But again — everyone’s experience is different. When O’Neill was contemplating this decision, HubSpot happened to be scaling up, which forced him to learn a lot of crucial business lessons as a byproduct of being in the throes of a company’s earliest stages. Not everyone will be in that same position, and some people will have to seek the lessons O’Neill learned elsewhere.Depending on the program you choose, an MBA could be the best place to gain this knowledge. So when you’re making this decision, carefully evaluate where you are in your career, and how much you can learn on your current trajectory without an advanced degree.3) When you actually have the time to dedicate to it.During my first semester of business school, I was working full-time while also completing my coursework. Granted, most of my classes were at night, which on the surface seems like a convenient arrangement. But as any student will tell you, your academic work extends far beyond the hours you spend in the classroom. There are exams to study for, papers to write, and group projects to complete.In other words, if you add that to your current professional workload — your nights and weekends are pretty much toast. At least, that was my experience.That may seem like a sacrifice you’re willing to make, but think about it, in the context of the previous points. Even if you’re certain of your reasons for pursuing an MBA, do you really have the time to dedicate to it? Will you also be able to sufficiently take care of yourself, and spend enough time with loved ones to maintain a measurable level of mental health?It’s easy to think that the answers to those questions are “yes” — in fact, I told myself that I would have plenty of time to work out between classes or before work in the morning, and to cook healthy meals ahead of time on the weekends. And while that was sometimes true, it required extremely strict time management, and left precious little time to actually relax.My colleague, Karla Cook — who’s working full-time while pursuing her master’s degree — agrees. “I tell people the only reason they should work full-time while pursuing a graduate degree is if they get offered an opportunity that falls in the ‘dream job’ category,” she explains. “If that’s not the case, then it’s probably not worth completely killing yourself over, because you will have no free time.”But the good news is, it’s temporary. Business school doesn’t last forever — though it might seem like that while you’re going through it. But before you seriously consider going through this kind of program, have a clear idea of what’s going to make it “worth it” to you. Having that goal in mind gives you something tangible to keep you motivated during these stressful periods.4) … And when you have the money saved.They say that “time is money” — and just as you must be sure you’re willing to sacrifice the former, you also have to make certain that you have the latter. Remember those aforementioned dollar figures we cited about the true cost of an MBA? File this point under deciding what will make the degree “worth it,” with “it” being the hundreds of thousands of dollars that your degree will likely cost.When you’re deciding whether or not to go to business school, ask yourself if you can afford to take on student loan debt. If you’ve just bought a house, paid for a wedding, expanded your family, or bought a car — the answer might be “no,” unless you happen to have a lot of liquid funds at your disposal.That said, loans aren’t the only answer. You should also see what other resources might be available to you, like scholarships or fellowships, some of which might even be available through the school you end up attending.When you begin selecting which programs you’ll apply to, explore their respective policies on merit-based financial aid — that’s the kind that you don’t usually have to repay. There are several guides to external merit scholarships available to MBA students, as well, like this one from GoGrad.org.5) When the program’s career resources will actually help you.At risk of sounding like a broken record, this point also speaks to the idea of what will make an MBA program “worth it.” Again, everyone’s priorities are different, but if you’re going to business school with the hope of advancing your career with a new employer, make sure the school you choose has the right resources to support your job search.This factor is one that institutions know prospective students take seriously. In the Graduate Management Admission Council’s Alumni Perspectives Survey Report 2017, 91% of respondents indicated that they found their MBAs to be “professionally rewarding,” and many schools feel a lot of pressure to uphold that significant figure for their own students. For that reason, many graduate students have found advertised career services to sometimes be a bit embellished. Cook echoes that sentiment, and says she’s come across many graduate programs that lack “any useful career benefits,” despite what they claim.In my own MBA experience, those services weren’t exactly embellished, but they were removed from the university’s budget after I had committed to the program. That wasn’t entirely negative — experiences like those can teach some students crucial lessons on networking and other valuable job search skills. Evaluate the resources available to you through a very fine lens, and consider how much of a priority they are in selecting a business school.6) When your employer will cover your tuition.This one seems a bit obvious, but it requires some reading between the lines, so to speak. If your employer will reimburse your MBA tuition, it might seem like a proverbial no-brainer to take advantage of that benefit. But understand what will be required if you do.First, understand that you’ll most likely have to pay taxes on any amount of reimbursement you receive over $5,250. Also, some employers require you to stay with the company for a certain amount of time upon completion of your degree as a condition of receiving this benefit. Once again — ask yourself what your reasons are for pursuing an MBA. If they include progressing your career in a new work environment, taking a route that requires you to stay with the same employer for at least two years after you graduate might not be the most optimal one.You might notice that many of these considerations work in tandem. For example, the point above about tuition reimbursement from your employer could be countered by having enough money saved to invest in the degree yourself, or being in a position to use student loans. That’s why we encourage you to spend ample time thinking about all of these factors — getting an MBA isn’t a minor decision.When an MBA Is Not Worth the Money1) When you should get a different degree.Maybe — just maybe — you’ve decided against getting an MBA because it’s simply not the right degree for your career trajectory, or for what you’re hoping to do. If you’re looking to specialize in corporate communications, for example, it might be worthwhile to look into graduate programs that specialize in it, and have the catered career resources to support it.That idea re-emphasizes the importance of knowing exactly what you’re hoping to gain from an MBA. When you outline your goals, compare them to the standard coursework required of an MBA, and see if they align. If not, it might be time to look into a different academic concentration.2) When you can work for an emerging or early-stage business.Remember O’Neill’s great story of how much he learned from sticking with a company that was scaling up — in lieu of pursuing an MBA? As we mentioned earlier, working with a company in its earliest stages often forces its employees, whether they like it or not, to learn a ton of business fundamentals.In a valuable MBA program, you should learn such fundamentals as managing budgets, personnel, projects, and — when the company really begins to take off — scaling it to keep up with that growth. Sounds a lot like the type of thing that managers have to learn with a new, emerging business, doesn’t it? If that’s the type of work and knowledge you crave, it could be time to look for job opportunities with a company in these early stages.3) When you can use individual courses to gain the skills you’re missing.When I was in business school, I was fortunate enough to have some truly great professors. But I also learned something else — without naming names, I realized that while many academic instructors are experts in their respective fields, that doesn’t mean they excel when it comes to teaching.That meant, for certain subjects, I sometimes had to seek outside resources to supplement classroom teachings — most notably, Khan Academy, an online provider of free classes and courses. I found out about it through a classmate in a particularly difficult class, and once I started using it for that particular topic, I saw how much knowledge the site has to offer.And while I wasn’t about to abandon my MBA to self-teach via this resource alone, it did make me realize that, for individual areas and skills, sites like these can be a tremendous help to those who aren’t ready to pursue a full degree, but want to improve their professional credentials. And Khan Academy — despite offering a plethora of courses on subjects ranging from economics to art history — is hardly the only resource of this kind. Our favorites include Coursera, edX, HubSpot Academy, Lynda, and Udemy. Even better, some of these sites, like Coursera, actually offer classes taught by faculty of some top-tier schools, including Stanford.To B-School, or Not to B-SchoolDeciding whether or not to pursue your MBA is a pretty big decision — it can be a significant investment of both time and money. But, for many, it’s worth it. And now, you have a checklist to help make that decision just a little bit easier.And as for me — the verdict is in. My MBA was worth it. In the thick of my coursework, I did sometimes question, “Why am I doing this?” Plus, I agree that there are many times when the investment just isn’t necessary. But in the end, I remain very happy with my decision to go to business school. I got to experience living in a new city, gain new skills, and figure out what I don’t want to do, which, to me, is a milestone in one’s career progression.All in all, I think of it as a very productive use of my time — and I want it to be for you, too. You’ll make the right decision. But please, don’t make it in a hurry.What are your thoughts on pursuing an MBA? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

  • Side Projects: How to Start (and Finish) One

    first_img Don’t forget to share this post! Career Development Originally published Jun 19, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated June 19 2017 Topics: It might be an unpopular opinion, but I do believe that having tons of great ideas isn’t always a good thing.There just isn’t enough time in a single day to tackle all of them — let alone while also doing your day job. So how do you choose just one — and once you do, how do you make time to work on it, and see it through to the end?That, my friends, is why we get search results like these:We get it: Finishing a side project is really, really hard. After all, when you put in long days or weeks at work, the last thing you want to do is, well, more work — even if you have a remarkable idea. Download our complete guide here for more tips on improving your productivity.But it’s not impossible. In fact, with a few changes to your outlook and approach to your side project, it might actually be what you had originally imagined — fun. That’s why we compiled this list of tips to complete those side projects that you’re determined to see through to the end.6 Tips to Start (and Finish) a Side Project1) Make sure the novelty isn’t going to wear off.Many moons ago, I was having a career chat with my then-editor about some business ideas, when she introduced me to my favorite term: “shiny object syndrome.” I use it to describe my tendency to think of a great idea, jump into it with full force and excitement, and after a month or two … lose interest.From what I’ve observed, it’s a common phenomenon among creative people, which makes it that much more difficult to actually finish a side project before you think of another one that’s, well, “shinier.” So to prevent that, we’ve established a few steps to follow:Make sure you’re really excited about the idea — really excited.Give it 10 days, and see if you’re still excited. If you are, proceed to the next step.Acknowledge just how difficult this project will be. How much time will it require? Are you actually going to be so excited about it that you still want to give it your attention after a terrible day at work?Give it a trial run. For one work week, schedule an hour each night to do research on the project.If your responses to each step are pretty much affirmative, then that’s a good sign. Proceed — but not without caution.2) Be respectful of your employer’s time.Sometimes, your employer might encourage you to execute a side project on the company’s behalf. It might be an experiment with new types of blog content, or starting a branded podcast. But never forget about your “day job” — you know, the thing you were hired to do because of its ultimate impact on the product and customer.In other words, even if the side project is something your manager signed off on, be respectful of the company’s time and resources. Here at HubSpot, we approach everything we do with a general formula:customer > team > individualIf your instincts tell you that you might be neglecting your “normal” work for the sake of your side project, they’re probably right — and that can have a negative impact on both your team and the company. Until you can provide evidence that your side project will have equal or greater impact, always give priority to the job you were hired to do. After all, it’s called a side project because it’s something you do on the side.If the project isn’t being carried out on behalf of your employer, then it’s best not to give it much, if any of your attention during work hours. Many times, employees are required to sign documents agreeing not to use company resources — like computers or other supplies — to work on anything other than the work they were hired to do, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, and work on your project during your own time.3) Wave your “nights and weekends” white flag of surrender.If you really want to see your side project through to the end, be prepared to lose the vast majority of your nights and weekends to it. Of course, watching another episode of “Orange Is the New Black” might be easier and more enjoyable — in the moment. But is it going to lead to something that’s ultimately fulfilling in the long run? Probably not. Sorry, pal, but step away from the Netflix.But even that might not be enough, and you might have to treat your nights-and-weekends dedication the same way that you would treat anything with longer-term benefits, like a healthier lifestyle, or saving to buy a house.”If you’re planning to work on your side project ‘whenever you get a chance’,” says Dmitry Shamis, HubSpot’s senior manager of web development, “you’ll never touch it.”It might mean that you have to stay up later or skip happy hour, but build time spent on your side project into your routine. If you go to the gym after work, schedule an hour after you get home and make dinner to work on it. Or maybe you’re an early bird — I am, and I’ll be the first to admit that the hour I spend each morning drinking coffee and scrolling through Instagram could probably be spent more productively.In any case, make your side project part of your day-to-day activities. It’ll feel less like a burden, and more like something that you just naturally do.4) Tell other people about it.A few years ago, researchers at Dominican University conducted a study to see if writing down goals or sharing them with a friend correlated with a higher rate of meeting them. In short — it did.Source: Sid SavaraNotice how the groups that wrote their goals down and committed them to a friend outperformed on accomplishing them, compared to the groups with unwritten goals. Putting our ideas on the record, even if just by writing them in a notebook, gives them life, and makes us that much more likely to follow through on them. Plus, by telling a friend, you’ll avoid those awkward moments of stammering for a response when she asks you how your project is going.”Hold yourself accountable by telling other people about your project,” says HubSpot ‎Senior Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich. “Better yet, tell other people about the smaller parts of it you’ve vowed to complete by a certain time. I always find a little external pressure to be a helpful motivator.”5) Join an industry community.Depending on the category your project falls under, there’s likely an online community or Meetup group for it. Let’s say I wanted to find a meetup where I could talk about an SEO side project. Even with this fairly narrow search criteria, I still managed to find three relevant groups:Much of this goes back to the idea of accountability through others. And by sharing your side project with a community of others who are interested in the same topic, not only are you getting the motivation of external pressure that Kolowich mentioned — you’re also improving your chances of getting objective insights and feedback on your ideas.6) Reward yourself for progress.Finally, if you’ve followed the above five steps, it’s okay to independently recognize your own hard work. External praise is great, but sometimes, it’s nice to reward yourself for your accomplishments.”I pay myself in cookies and mozzarella sticks for completed tasks,” says Niti Shah, a senior growth marketing manager at HubSpot.Hey — whatever it takes.Whether it’s a nap or a special treat, sticking to your resolve to see a side project through to the end deserves recognition.What are some of the best ways you’ve found to finish a side project? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

  • How We Generated 1 Million Facebook Video Views: A HubSpot Experiment

    first_imgGone are the days when social media publishing and engagement could be tacked onto the daily responsibilities of an intern — as were many of the first roles in social media.Today’s growth-minded organizations need a team of people ideating, creating, publishing, and promoting content on social media to drive meaningful returns on investment — and this requires time, effort, and creativity.Download Now: Free Social Media CalendarMarketers are realizing this and dedicating more time, resources, and staff headcount to social media. In the 2017 State of Inbound report, more marketers said they planned to add social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to their marketing efforts than in the previous year’s survey.Here at HubSpot, we’re constantly evaluating and changing the way we create content on social media to adapt to the way people want to stay connected. As our audience’s preferences for social media content evolve each year, so does our strategy.In our survey, nearly half of respondents said they wanted to see more social media content — and more videos, especially. So we’ve run a few experiments digging into what our audience wants to see, how they want to engage, and where they want to interact on social media.We have our strategies, process, and results to share that might inform your strategy, but our greatest piece of advice for any social media team — no matter the size — is to always experiment. The social media space changes so much every month — it’s important to figure out what works, but it’s also important to remain agile so you can try new things whenever you can.How We Increased Video Views 20X by Creating Native Social Media ContentSocial media has changed.That might read like the biggest understatement in the world, but hear me out.As part of our previous social media strategy, our posts were connected to lead generation goals — and most had a strong tie to our brand and promoting our content. Now, our content is all about our audience — and not all about us. We needed to refocus and remember that our audience members are people, just like us. If we wouldn’t want to see a piece of content in our Facebook News Feeds, why would our audience? We wanted to test the effect of focusing our content on our audience — what they want to learn about, what their goals are, and even what struggles they face.In short, we wanted to be more social, and less promotional.This doesn’t mean we recommend doing away with sharing blog content or ebooks on social media entirely. After all, it’s hard to come up with new ideas for creating social media videos to share every day of the week. We’re just saying you shouldn’t post a link to a blog post or ebook on Facebook and call it a day. Instead, get inspired by the ideas and salient points, and repurpose your content into Facebook videos, Instagram albums, or Snapchat Stories. You can still use the good ideas — but use them to create native social media content that performs better for the medium.If your current social media strategy sounds like our previous, all-about-us approach, don’t worry — read on to learn how we’ve changed things up.1) Different Video TopicsThe Goal:We examined our audience and learned what they did engage with in our previous social media strategy. Then, we researched the broader social media and digital landscapes. We wanted to learn what marketers and salespeople were already engaging with and finding relevant, and how we could create content more specifically for them, instead of distributing our content on social media channels for our goals.The Experiment:We created a list of topics and headlines we believed our audience would respond well to — that were more lifestyle and culturally-oriented — and immediately started creating content. Then, we started brainstorming culturally relevant and popular topics and saw how we could creatively present them to this audience in a way that makes sense for our audience and their world.Our audience is made up of marketers and salespeople who want to learn how to grow and get better at their jobs — so instead of using our social media channels to simply push out content we were producing on our blogs, offers, and external channels, we’ve started creating content specifically for our Facebook audience based on what we know about what they like (like this video about making coffee to improve productivity — two things busy people love):The Results:We went from an average of 50,000 video views per month to 1 million views in our first month performing these experiments. Our engagement rate also shot up as the content resonated with our audience and they started liking, commenting, and sharing our posts.Take a look at our engagement rates from our previous social strategy (orange indicates reach, and pink indicates clicks):And here’s what our views and engagement rate looked like under our new strategy:Pretty big jump, huh?Key Takeaway for Marketers:When you start evaluating how to generate more Likes, comments, and shares from your Facebook audience, think about how you yourself use the platform. You might not be as interested in sharing a post that’s highly specific to one brand or organization, but you might engage with a post that’s highly relevant to you, right?Conduct some detailed persona research, analyze your Facebook audience insights, and learn more about how they’re spending time on the platform instead of simply using Facebook as a means to only promote what you’re doing. Create social media content specifically for your audience, and you’ll get better results.2) Different Video Design DevicesThe Goal:We wanted to test our videos to see if different designs and formats would lead to different engagement rates.The Experiment:We tested the effects of some new design devices. These included starting videos with a human face, putting title bars throughout the duration of our videos, ensuring there were captions throughout, adding a “Best with Sound on” animation, and providing a CTA with the goal of audience engagement.Human face: We felt that people would respond best to a human face as they would feel connected. Here’s an example.Title bars: People are scrolling so fast we wanted to grab their attention and make sure they knew what our video was about in that quick motion. It also helps if someone gets distracted during the video, they will always know the topic. Here’s an example.Subtitles: Our historical data showed that about 95% of people watched our videos without the sound on. We wanted to meet them where they were at and make sure that our videos could still be watched in that format. Here’s an example.”Best with Sound On” animations: Knowing our audience primarily watches with the sound off, we wanted to make sure our videos that benefitted from sound were noted as such. Here’s an example.Call-to-action: To help facilitate how people could engage with our video, we ask them questions, or ask them to respond in some way to our video. Here’s an example.The Results:In January 2017, the average Facebook view earned 4,500 views. By May 2017, our average number of Facebook video views had increased to 56,000 per new video. Additionally, our average number of video engagements (Likes, comments, clicks, and shares) during this time period increased from 100 to 496. Finally, our percentage of Facebook viewers who watched videos with the sound off decreased from 95% to between 60-70% per video.Key Takeaway for Marketers:The design devices we added are designed to make for an easier viewing experience for the audience and crafted based off how people are using social these days. We are serving up videos to our audience how our audience wants to see them, and the results show that it’s working. Use different devices and tools, such as the ones we tried, to make your videos easier to consume for your audience — no matter where or how they’re watching.3) Different Video SizesThe Goal:We want to create videos that are eye-catching and attract our audience’s attention in the Facebook News Feed to increase our video views and engagement on the platform.The Experiment:We’ve started experimenting with different video sizes and formats to improve engagement and increase video views. The default Facebook video size has an aspect ratio of 16:9 (a rectangle), like the video below. When viewers click the video to watch on mobile devices (where roughly 90% of Facebook users access the platform), it only takes up part of the center of their screen in the News Feed:And when viewers click in to watch the video, it takes up so little space that Facebook queues up another video for them to watch next — or potentially navigate away to if they get bored with the original video:Conversely, when we post Facebook videos with a 1:1 aspect ratio, the video takes up 78% more space on the mobile News Feed — and it takes up more space when the viewer clicks to watch it, too. Social Media Video Topics: Don’t forget to share this post!center_img Originally published Jul 14, 2017 6:00:00 AM, updated July 14 2017 The Results:We haven’t experimented with mobile Facebook video sizes enough to report on it — yet. Luckily, our friends at Buffer have us covered — they partnered with Animoto to experiment with optimal Facebook video sizing for mobile earlier this year.Buffer and Animoto found that square videos (1:1) outperformed landscape videos (16:9) in both views and engagement. Over the course of the experiment, square videos achieved 30-35% more views and 80-100% more engagement than the landscape format. You can dig into all of the results in Buffer’s blog post for all of the findings — including the interesting note that landscape videos outperformed square videos for desktop users.Since the odds are that most of your Facebook fans will access your content on mobile devices, filming videos in a square aspect ratio will most likely drive more engagement and more video views for your content on the platform. But, if you’re specifically targeting desktop users for a campaign or ad, landscape videos might be a better choice.Key Takeaway for Marketers:Film videos in 1:1 aspect ratios to take up as much space as possible on your audience’s mobile phones — because that’s where they’re interacting with you the most. Next, we’ll be trying to film in 9:16 aspect ratio to take up the entire screen — like an Instagram or Snapchat Story — and we’ll keep you posted how those perform in future posts.Tl;dr: Native Social Media ContentOverall, we averaged 50,000 total Facebook video views per month last year, and this year so far, we’re averaging about 1 million total video views per month. Some of these additional views may be attributable to Facebook ad spend on another video campaign (more on that in a subsequent post), and although using paid ads and sponsored posts on social media is part of the game, creating good content matters too. And we think our overhaul of how we create Facebook videos was the primary growth lever.Think about creating content for social media the way you think about optimizing blog posts with on-page SEO elements.You know all about on-page SEO — how to create titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URL structures that help your blog posts and webpages rank in search engines. Think about these video devices and strategies like on-page SEO — but for social media.Subtitles, title bars, animations, and video sizes all work together to make it easier for your audience to view your videos and interact with them the way they want to — primarily on mobile devices, and without turning up the volume. And of course, engaging topics get viewers interested in clicking and watching something on their News Feeds in the first place.Next StepsWe’re going to keep iterating on what works, scrap what doesn’t, and brainstorm more ways to keep our audiences engaged and entertained by our content. The ultimate goal of social media is to be just that — social — and we want to hear from our audience, learn what they like and dislike, and keep creating cool stuff for them to enjoy.What experiments is your social media team running? Share with us in the comments below.last_img read more

  • Scheduling Instagram Posts: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

    first_img Topics: Although the exact day and time you post content to Instagram matters less than it used to — your followers’ newsfeeds are organized by relevance and engagement, rather than post age — it’s still very important.And now, you can schedule Instagram posts to make it even easier.Let’s say 10% of your audience is online on Tuesday at 3 p.m. You post a creative GIF showcasing your latest product. Because not many people are scrolling through Instagram, it gets fewer likes and comments than your average post. Instagram’s algorithm interprets this as the post is less appealing than your typical content, so it’s displayed to a smaller percentage of your network.Download 25 free Instagram templates to increase engagement and elevate your presence. For this reason, it’s a good idea to figure out when your followers are most active and post on those days and times. (Need a tool for this? Try Iconosquare or Squarelovin.)While having this information is useful, you do have to wait — poised over your phone or computer — for the specific hour to strike. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the “set it and forget it” approach.Luckily, Instagram’s API that lets users of marketing tools like HubSpot schedule Instagram posts in advance. In other words, if you use social media scheduling software, you can upload your content and choose when it will go live on Instagram.To start, you’ll need a third-party scheduling tool to do the scheduling. Below are a few handy options, most of which offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android devices.Tools for Scheduling Instagram PostsLaterTailwindBufferSchedugramSprout SocialAutogrammerHubSpot 1. LaterPrice: Free for individuals, business plans start at $19/monthLater is a social media post scheduler, dedicated to Instagram. The platform includes a full social content calendar, drag-and-drop post planning, and the ability to publish automatically to your Instagram Business profile. In addition, the service’s Linkin.bio feature allows you to link certain posts to specific product pages.2. TailwindPrice: $9.99/month for bloggers & small businessesTailwind is a social media scheduling toolkit specifically for Instagram and Pinterest. Using smart features like bulk image uploading and a built-in Hashtag Finder, the tool allows small businesses to quickly personalize their Instagram profiles to their audience.3. BufferPrice: Free with limited scheduling, business plans start at $15/monthBuffer schedules social media posts across six social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. The tool allows users to manage their social posts from one dashboard and schedule content as they discover it online. In addition to a mobile app for iOS and Android, Buffer also offers an extension for your internet browser.4. SchedugramPrice: $20/month for one social accountSchedugram is an Instagram post scheduler that includes a photo editor. The tool allows you to plan out a long-term posting calendar while modifying the aesthetics of an image prior to publishing. With features like Product Tagging, a user’s potential customers can also make purchases  from Instagram posts.5. Sprout SocialPrice: Plans start at $99/month per userSprout Social, compatible with six major social networks, is a social media content calendar that allows you to schedule posts and measure multiple aspects of their engagement once they go live. The platform’s “social listening” abilities help users identify unique trends across their social content and apply these trends to the rest of their marketing strategy.6. AutogrammerPrice: Plans start at $9.99/monthAutogrammer is a social media post scheduler for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Users can bulk-upload images and automatically schedule posts for multiple social media accounts on the same calendar. Like Schedulgram, Autogrammer also includes a photo editor where you can crop, rotate, recolor, and apply filters to photos before they’re scheduled.7. HubSpotHubSpot is our growth platform, bringing together numerous sales, marketing, and customer service tools — one of which is a social media publishing calendar. You can learn exactly how our scheduling tool works in the step-by-step instructions below.Now, let’s dive into how to schedule Instagram posts for an Instagram Business page — which you’ll need — using HubSpot:How to Schedule Instagram PostsEnsure you have admin access to your Facebook Business Page.Switch to your Business profile on the Instagram mobile app and connect this account to Facebook.Open HubSpot and use the “Social” tool to integrate your Instagram profile.Create your first social post for your Instagram account.Compose a message with your desired visual assets, captions, and hashtags.Set the date and time of your Instagram post.Preview your post to make sure it looks right.Click “Schedule message.” 1. Ensure you have admin access to your Facebook Business Page.Instagram and Facebook might be separate accounts to you personally, but businesses that want to automate their Instagram posting schedule will need to tether both accounts together. So, you’ll need the username and password of your business’s Facebook account to do this.2. Switch to your Business profile on the Instagram mobile app and connect this account to Facebook.If you have a personal Instagram account, you probably know you can manage more than one profile from the app — and the other profile is your business account (keep in mind you’ll need an Instagram Business account to schedule Instagram posts in HubSpot).To switch to your Instagram Business page from your personal page, navigate to your profile on your mobile device and tap the thee dots in the upper-right corner of your screen. Then, in the next screen, select “Switch to Business Profile,” as shown below:Under “Settings,” select “Linked Accounts.” Here’s where you can select Facebook and link your two accounts together. You might be asked to “Log in With Facebook,” at which point you’ll enter your business account’s username and password. Otherwise, select “Continue as [yourself].”3. Open HubSpot and use the “Social” tool to integrate your Instagram profile.Now that your Instagram profile is anchored to Facebook, you’re ready to integrate it with your post scheduler. For our purposes, we’ll be using HubSpot’s Social tool.Open HubSpot, select the “Marketing” dropdown, and click “Social,” as shown below.On your first time opening HubSpot’s Social tool, you’ll see an orange button to “Connect accounts.” Click it, and it will bring you to the following progress screen:Click the first option, “Facebook & Instagram,” and follow the prompts to complete this integration. For more details, see the full connection instructions by HubSpot Academy.4. Create your first social post for your Instagram account.Once your Instagram account is integrated into HubSpot, you’ll see an option to “Create social post” in the top-righthand corner of your HubSpot dashboard. Click it, and you’ll see icons for which social network you want to start with. Select the Instagram icon to compose your first post for your Instagram account.5. Compose a message with your desired visual assets, captions, and hashtags.Upload your image using the landscape icons on the bottom-lefthand corner of the white text field that appears, as shown below:Then, caption your image with the text, hashtags, and user mentions you’d like to post your photo with, as they should appear on Instagram.6. Set the date and time of your Instagram post.Just above the photo you’re posting, you’ll see a field labeled “When:”. Use this field to set the exact date and time you want your post to automatically go live on your Instagram profile.Pro tip: Social media content posted a few minutes before or after a round hour often gets better engagement than content that’s posted at, say, exactly 9:00 a.m. This makes your post seem more human to your followers, increasing the chances of them clicking on it (ex: 9:03, 10:58, 2:31, etc).7. Preview your post to make sure it looks right.Any grammatical errors? Are all your intended hashtags included? Is the image successfully uploaded? Check to make sure, and you’ll be ready to schedule.8. Click “Schedule message.”As you might be able to tell from the screenshot in Step 5, you can schedule your social posts in bulk. Got any more Instagram posts planned? Draft them now and schedule all of them at the same time. Once every post you want to schedule has been loaded into HubSpot, you can hit the orange “Schedule message” button on the bottom lefthand corner of your compose window.Post automating isn’t available for Ads, nor will you be able to use it within Instagram itself. This means unless you’ve got a tool hooked up to your account, you’ll still have to time that picture from brunch strategically. Originally published Aug 22, 2018 10:49:00 PM, updated October 30 2019 Don’t forget to share this post! Instagram Marketinglast_img read more

  • A Comprehensive List of HTTP Status Codes

    first_img HTTP Status Codes Topics: 1. 200This is an HTTP code that users never see. A 200 status code means that the request was a success and everything is working properly.2. 301A 301 status code means that a permanent redirect was set up. Essentially, this means the URL you want doesn’t exist anymore, but the website has redirected it to another page.As a marketer, you might go into your website and set up a 301 redirect if you want to take down one of your blog posts and replace it with an updated URL. If you’re going to redirect a page, you want to use a 301 redirect (as opposed to a 302 redirect), because the new page will keep the same SEO link “juice” as the old page.3. 302A 302 status code is a temporary redirect. This means the page you want has been temporarily moved to another URL. As a user, you won’t notice a 302 redirect. Your browser should automatically send you to the new URL.As a marketer, you should use a 301 redirect as opposed to a 302 redirect. With a 302 redirect you’ll lose the SEO link authority of the old page since search engine crawlers treat this as a temporary page.4. 304This status code communicates that the URL you want hasn’t been modified since the last time you accessed it. In other words, your browser pulls up a cached (saved) version of the page. Essentially, this code lets your browser act as an implicit redirect to the cached version in an effort to speed up page delivery.304 codes, otherwise known as a 304 Not Modified code, could occur when it’s not supposed to. Fixing these can be a technical process, so it’s best to leave this to your IT department.5. 401A 401 code means that authorization is required to view the URL you searched for. This happens when a website is password protected. You would see this error if you enter the wrong credentials.As a marketer, you might set up a password protected site for internal purposes. You could also have parts of your site that client’s need to log into to access.6. 403A 403 status code means access to the website is restricted. This is different from a 401 code because it means the server understood the request, but won’t fulfill it.For example, with a 401 status code, authentication might be missing or inaccurate. On the other hand, a 403 error is more concrete. It means that a user is authenticated, but they don’t have access to the URL they want.7. 404One of the most common HTTP status codes is the 404 error. This means the page is not found. This could happen if you delete a page, it’s missing, or it doesn’t exist.Some companies use humor to make these errors less disruptive for users. If you want to delete a page, you might consider setting up a 301 redirect so you don’t lose the authority of that page.However, if you have a page that you don’t want to be indexed and crawled by search engines, you might keep the 404 page instead of redirecting.8. 405A 405 status code means that your server has decided to reject the HTTP method of the page you’re requesting. This means your web browser can’t access the URL.When a 405 error shows up, it can be challenging to pinpoint the cause and correct the issue. As a marketer, you want to fix the problem as soon as possible to avoid losing brand trust. This can also be a technical process, so you may want to escalate this to your IT department.9. 406A 406 error means that the server can’t generate a response matching the URL. This means that the server can’t send the data back in the requested format.Below is an example of what this would look like:Image SourceThis is a rare error code, because servers tend to deliver the information they can as opposed to delivering a 406 code. If this error code does show up, you should consider calling your developer or IT department to take a look at it for you.10. 408A 408 error code means the server timed out while waiting for the request from the browser. These are typically caused by an incorrect URL, a slow connection, or connectivity issues.Usually the user has to fix these issues themselves by checking their internet connectivity and internet speed. If the error is due to high traffic, users just have to wait until visitors leave the website.If the issue is occurring because of the website itself, you’ll have to check your content management system and look for any changes. Have you updated it recently? Did you download any new extensions recently? Contact your developer or IT team to look into the issue.11. 410Similar to a 404 error code, a 410 code means the page is gone permanently. This means the page was deleted and no redirect was set up. If there are any 410 links on your site, you’ll want to remove any references or links to them from your content.To avoid a negative experience for users that get to that page from a backlink, consider setting up a 301 redirect.12. 429A 429 error is when a user sends too many requests at once. Have you ever typed in a URL, then opened a new tab and typed in another while waiting for the first to load? Doing this too many times will cause a 429 error. There’s nothing you can really do to fix it, just limit the amount of pages you’re requesting at once.13. 499A 499 error occurs when the client closes the request while it’s still processing. If you’ve ever typed in a URL, and then clicked the “X” that shows up in the same space as the refresh button, you might encounter a 499 error.Again, this is an error that occurs on the client side, and can’t really be avoided as a marketer.14. 500A 500 status code means there was an internal server error. These usually indicate an issue with the server, but the browser can’t pinpoint the specific cause. A 500 code is a general error code stating something went wrong.To fix this, you’ll likely need to do a little troubleshooting or contact your developer or IT department.15. 501This status code indicates a problem with the web server. Typically, it means the server does not support the functionality required to fulfill the request. This requires the web developer to fix the issue.16. 502A 502 error code is a bad gateway error that means something went wrong with the website’s server communication. These could happen when the request takes too long or the connection to the database breaks. To fix a 502 error code, take a look at this A Simple Explanation of a 502 Bad Gateway Error & How to Resolve It, which states — “You can reload the page, look for server connectivity issues, check for any DNS changes, sift through your logs, fix faulty firewall configurations, comb through your website’s code to find bugs, or contact your host.”17. 503A 503 error code occurs when the server is unavailable because it can’t handle the request at the moment. This could happen because a server is temporarily overloaded or there is maintenance on the server. Essentially, this happens when the site is down for a short period of time.For example, this happened to me when I visited Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS site on the day of a launch — because so many people were on the site, it ended up crashing.18. 504A 504 error code is when the first server times out before the second server can gather the information and send it to your browser.Fixing this on your site can be technical, so you might consider contacting your developer or IT team.19. 521A 521 error code occurs when the web server is down. Again, to fix this issue, you’ll want to contact your host, developer, or IT team.As a marketer, you should understand the different HTTP status codes that are being communicated every time a user is on your site. That way, you can fix any issues with your website as they arise. 200 301 302 304 401 403 404 405 406 408 410 429 499 500 501 502 503 504 521 Technical SEOcenter_img Originally published Oct 25, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated October 25 2019 One day I was scrolling through BuzzFeed (as one does … ), when, all of a sudden, I got the dreaded 404 error code.As a user, I didn’t understand why I was getting an HTTP status code, or what it meant.If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering, Wait…What’s an HTTP status code?Simply put, HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Essentially, this is the protocol that facilitates communication between your browser and a web server.Whenever you type a request in your browser, it sends a request to a web server to receive, process, and send back the requested information. An HTTP status code is sent to your browser with every request, but you won’t see them unless something goes wrong.As a marketer or website owner, it’s important to know what HTTP status codes are so you can diagnose and fix problems on your website.Below, let’s review the different types of HTTP status codes and what they mean for your site.Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this audit. Types of HTTP Status CodesBefore diving into various status codes, let’s review the different types. There are five classes of HTTP status codes: 100’s — An informational code that communicates the request is continuing. This is what’s going on when the computer is still “thinking.” 200’s — A success code that communicates the browser request was processed correctly. You won’t ever see this on the front end, but it’s being communicated to your browser. 300’s — A redirect code stating that the information or resource has been substituted with another resource, either temporarily or permanently. 400’s — A client error code that communicates there was a problem with the request. This happens when the site or page can’t be reached. 500’s — A server error code indicating the request was accepted, but an error on the server prevented it from being fulfilled.There are lots of different error codes. Below is a list of the most frequent you might encounter: Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

  • Former England defender Ashley Cole calls time on trophy-laden career

    first_imgFormer England, Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, one of the most decorated players in English domestic football, announced his retirement from the game on Sunday, bringing an end to a colorful 20-year career.The 38-year-old, who also had spells at AS Roma in Italy’s Serie A and LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, last represented Championship (second-tier) outfit Derby County before his contract expired at the end of last season.The left-back won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and a League Cup during his career. He also won the Champions League and UEFA Cup once each while at Chelsea.Cole often found himself in the news over the years over his private life, including his marriage to singer and television personality Cheryl Cole.After hard consideration, it’s time to hang my boots up and look towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching, Cole, who was also capped 107 times by England, told Sky Sports.As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or be a professional. Looking back, to be able to say I played in World Cups, Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles – it’s a young kid’s dream.I fulfilled my dream. Now I look to the future, hopefully as a great coach.Cole won two league titles with boyhood club Arsenal after making his debut in 1999 and was part of their Invincibles team that went unbeaten throughout the 2003-04 campaign.He joined London rivals Chelsea in 2006 and continued to stamp his authority as one of the best defenders in England, going on to lift more titles at Stamford Bridge.advertisementHis four FA Cups with Chelsea took his personal tally to seven, making him the most successful player in the competition’s history.After leaving Chelsea in 2014, he played in Italy and the United States before working under former teammate and current Chelsea boss at Derby, helping them to the playoff final which they lost to Aston Villa.last_img read more

  • Ravi Shastri has to win big tournaments to justify appointment: Sourav Ganguly

    first_imgBy reposing faith in Ravi Shastri and giving him the support staff of his choice, the decision makers in Board of Cricket for Cricket in India (BCCI) have made it clear they are looking at India’s 2019 World Cup semi final finish in a positive light.The historic Test series win in Australia was India’s biggest achievement under Shastri-Kohli combine but does that give the complete picture? Ask Sourav Ganguly if India’s unbeaten run in lead up to World Cup knockouts is creditable or should the semi final exit be seen as an underachievement?”The team was capable and it still is but you have to start winning big games,” Sourav Ganguly told India Today on sidelines of My11Circle’ a fantasy gaming platform promotions.”The team has no dearth of talent. A team that has Virat [Kohli], Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan is not short on talent. But it’s also true that we lost the semi finals in 2015 World Cup, in the 2016 T20 World Cup and now in 2019 World Cup. They will have to find a way to win knockout games. That is the puzzle they need to solve. They need some luck, take some risks and find a way,” Ganguly said.Ganguly was part of the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) that picked Anil Kumble ahead of Ravi Shastri as coach in 2016 for a year until the breakdown in relations with Virat Kohli forced the legendary leg-spinner out. Ganguly was reportedly not keen on Shastri again, being a member of CAC in 2017 when Virender Sehwag too had applied. On that occasion, Shastri bagged the job.advertisementHowever, Ganguly said Shastri is the right choice this time around among the applicants. Shastri pipped the likes of Mike Hesson, Tom Moody, Lalchand Rajput and Robin Singh after a Kapil Dev-led Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) conducted interviews for the role of Team India head coach earlier this month.”Ravi is the right choice. They (Kapil Dev-led CAC) didn’t have too many choices as not many had applied,” Ganguly added.However, Sourav Ganguly maintained that the head coach has the responsibility to help India win big tournaments in the 2-year stint.”Ravi has been doing this for five years (except one year of Anil Kumble) and now been given this responsibility for two more years. So I don’t think anyone else in history has got such a long time with the team. He is the right choice but he now has to justify. He has two T20 World Cups ahead and in such big tournaments, India needs to find ways to win them,” Ganguly said.Also Read | Selection process was tough, says Ravi Shastri after bagging another term as India coachAlso Read | CAC did not consult Virat Kohli before reappointing Ravi Shastri, says Kapil Devlast_img read more

  • Duleep Trophy final: Jaydev Unadkat takes four as India Red grab momentum

    first_imgSeasoned left-arm pacer Jaydev Undakat returned a four-wicket haul to help India Red seize early initiative in the Duleep Trophy final as India Green were left reeling at 147 for 8 on the rain-hit opening day, here on Wednesday.It turned out to be stop-start day after India Green captain Faiz Fazal opted to bat.Mayank Markande, batting at number eight, emerged top-scorer with his 32-run unbeaten knock as Unadkat and his bowling colleagues never allowed the rival batmen tot settle by striking intermittently.Fazal fell leg-before wicket to Unadkat for 16 after adding 19 runs for the opening wicket with Akshath Reddy.Reddy (16) and Delhi batsman Dhruv Shorey (23) then put on 34 runs with the former adopting a positive approach.However, three wickets — Shorey, Siddhesh Lad and Reddy in the space of 12 runs, pegged India Green back.While Shorey nicked one to wicket-keeper Ishan Kishan off Sandeep Warrier (1/25), Lad fell to Unadkat and Reddy’s patient knock ended when he was run-out.With Green in trouble at 73 for 4 in 25 overs, rain stopped play.When the game resumed, Aksh Deep Nath (29) and Akshay Wadkar (6) looked to do the rescue act by adding 27 runs.Left-arm spinner Aditya Sarwate ended the stand, having Nath caught by skipper Priyank Panchal with the score at 92.Green lost the wickets of Wadkar and all-rounder Dharmendrasinh Jadeja (15) to slip further.Unadkat had his fourth scalp, when he had Rajesh Mohanty caught behind for a duck.However, Markande’s defiant knock and his 35-run stand for the ninth wicket with Tanveer ul-Haq (8 batting) ensured that Green finished the day without any further setbacks.advertisementRain stopped play with Green at 133 for 8 in 43 overs. Played resumed after some time but only six more overs were possible with bad light ending the day’s proceedings.Brief Score: India Green: 147 for 8 in 49 overs (Mayank Markande 32 batting, Aksh Deep Nath 29; Jaydev Unadkat 4/58).Also Read | Duleep Trophy: India Red’s Karun Nair hits 166 before match ends in drawAlso Read | Uncapped Jalaj Saxena achieves big all-round feat in domestic cricketAlso Seelast_img read more

  • Samsung Galaxy Fold quick review: The price you pay for future

    first_imgWhen you hold the Samsung Galaxy Fold in your hands, you hold the future. The world has been sceptical about the Galaxy Fold, and rightly so. It is an audacious phone with its foldable screen, a design that lets users snap it shut like a book and then carry it in their pocket like the way they can carry a tall cigarette case or a slim and small cigar box. But it is not perfect. We saw that way back in summer when it reached some early users — the announcement happened in February — and problems were soon reported about its design and foldable screen. Now, in its second coming, the Galaxy Fold sports slightly tweaked design. Visually it is same, functionally it is slightly better, and durability-wise it is going to be in a different league, promises Samsung.The appeal of the folding screen of the Galaxy Fold, which is unique right now, in itself makes the Fold a standout device. But is the Galaxy Fold worth Rs 164,999, the asking price of the phone right now in India? It depends on what you expect from your phone.Before I get into what you should expect from the Galaxy Fold, and why at all it exists — I don’t think, and the high price indicates it — that this phone exists for consumers, let me get the mundane stuff out of the way.Yes, the Galaxy Fold is a smartphone. It is powered by Android 9, customised by Samsung with its own user interface, and Exynos 9825 processor. There is 12GB RAM in this phone. There is 64GB internal storage. Dual SIM cards are supported. There are two separate batteries in the phone, supplying juice to separate components by default, but each battery also capable of powering on the whole device on its own. The combined capacity of two batteries is 4380 mAh. The phone has a 7.3-inch AMOLED screen, which can be folded and unfolded. When the phone is folded, on the front, there is a smaller 4.6-inch screen. Both screens have plenty of pixels. The bigger screen has a resolution of 2152 x 1536 pixels. Samsung calls it Infinity Flex Display. The smaller screen has a resolution of 720 x 1680 pixels.advertisement The phone has a total of six cameras. The idea is that irrespective of what state the phone is in — folded or unfolded — people should be able to click a phone. So, on the back of the phone, there are three cameras. This is the same camera setup we have in other high-end Samsung phones, like in the Galaxy Note 10. The main camera uses a 12-megapixel sensor, the ultra-wide lens has been paired with a 16-megapixel sensor and the telephoto lens uses a 12-megapixel sensor. When the phone is unfolded, users get access to two front cameras: a selfie camera with 10-megapixel sensor and a depth sensing camera with an 8-megapixel sensor. When the phone is folded, users get access to single selfie camera with 10-megapixel image sensor.This is the mundane part. I have some more mundane stuff, before I move to the design and usability part, which is the key bit with the Galaxy Fold.As a regular phone, the Galaxy Fold works like a top-end Samsung device such as the Galaxy S10 or the Galaxy Note 10. In other words, in the short time I spend with the device, I found it to be a crazy fast phone. May be it is due to its 12GB RAM. May be it is the optimised software. But the Galaxy Fold user interface is extremely smooth. The performance of apps is fast on this phone: they open in jiffy, and you can move through the open apps seamlessly.Is it worth spending Rs 164,999 on the Galaxy Fold. Yes, if three years from now you want to feel that you were there when a new future for smartphones was unfolding.Both the displays — the smaller screen and the bigger screen — show outstanding colours, contrast and are extremely bright. No surprises there because we don’t expect anything less in a top-end phone from Samsung. As I said earlier, there are a lot of cameras in the Galaxy Fold and while using the phone briefly I could not try these cameras, if the camera performance of the Galaxy Note 10 is any indication, expect them to excel at clicking photos.None of these — the quality of screen, cameras, performance and software — are the reasons why the Galaxy Fold exists. There are other fantastic phones from Samsung in the market. It doesn’t need Fold to give consumers great phone experience. The Galaxy Fold exists because this is Samsung’s attempt to define future of smartphones. And it exists in India at a price of Rs 164,999 because Samsung is hoping to give consumers a slice of this future in a bid to show them that smartphones of future could be much more than the small slab of metal and glass that we carry in our pockets right now. The Galaxy Fold is something entirely new and creating something new is an expensive endeavour.advertisement The question then is, does the Galaxy Fold succeed in giving consumers a taste of future? In the short time I used the device, I was impressed with it but I could also see the nooks and corners where it was imperfect. Overall, I think Samsung has gotten most of the things right with the Galaxy Fold, and the areas where it has rough edges have more to do with state of technology right now instead of its implementation. Some things aren’t just possible in 2019.A phone that foldsThe foldable screen is the key feature of the Galaxy Fold. And it is actually useful. Phones of late are getting bigger and bigger. The Galaxy Fold solves that problem by using a foldable screen, which can be expanded by a user while browsing the web, watching a video, reading a book, playing a game, or while scrolling through Facebook timelines. But when you just want to send a quick message, want to check a notification, want to make a call, or may be just want to see the time, you can keep the Galaxy Fold folded and use its small screen.On paper this idea is incredibly sound. What amazes me with the Galaxy Fold is that how well Samsung has been able to implement this idea in practice.In terms of design, I feel that future foldable phones are going to look better. I don’t particularly fancy the kind of material Samsung has used in making the Fold. It’s too shiny. The glass on the back and the metal frame collect fingerprints within seconds after you start using the phone. The chrome finish is something I find too fancy. Then there is a thin plastic frame around the foldable screen and that too I don’t like. Although, I understand why it is there. It is to ensure that the two halves of the screen, when it has been folded don’t touch each other. It’s to protect the screen from scratches.The Galaxy Fold, because of its unique design challenges that Samsung is solving, feels a bit less premium than something like the Galaxy Note 10. Reason? Because of its flexible nature — glass is more rigid — there is more plastic in the Fold. There is a protective plastic layer on the phone’s foldable screen. There are plastic inserts in the hinge — and Samsung says that the state-of-the-art hinge makes the device possible — and they look a bit out of place.advertisement If you can look beyond some of these niggles — and these niggles are going to be part of the future initially as the tech companies like Samsung invent future and then perfect it — you are rewarded with incredible functionality with the Galaxy Fold. You hold it, and you realise you are holding something special. You browse something on its large screen, and then snap it shut like a book and slip it into your pocket, and you realise that there is no other phone that can let you do it.The whole mechanism of folding and unfolding the Galaxy Fold feels extremely robust and there is a sort of satisfying click as you fold the phone. In the middle of the foldable screen, contrary to what I expected to see, there is no folding line that is visible. Mostly. If you look at the phone carefully, and when the screen has white background, you can see the faint marking where the screen folds, but other than that — say while watching a video — you don’t see any markings. This is great, though how the foldable screen will react to wear and tear when people use the phone for longer duration is something that we will know only after a year or so.Coming back to the big question, is it worth spending Rs 164,999 on the Galaxy Fold? Yes, if three years from now you want to feel that you were there when a new future for smartphones was unfolding. The Galaxy Fold is not a practical phone, not yet. Instead, it is a phone with which Samsung is hoping to change the game, bring to the world something that has potential to change the way we use and see the phones. Rs 164,999 is the price of the ticket you pay to be part of this journey, to explore to something that is completely new and unique, even if it is not yet perfect, and to gather memories that you will share five years from now if phones with foldable screen indeed go mainstream.ALSO READ: | Samsung Galaxy Fold with foldable flexible screen launched in India, priced at Rs 164999ALSO READ: | Pixel 4 leaks again, shows recorder app with auto transcription featureALSO READ: | Spotify introduces Premium Family Plan in India, costs Rs 179 per monthlast_img read more