You Might Be an Entrepreneur If You Meet These 3 Conditions

I’m a recent convert to the lean startup movement. But after four years of operating a small startup incubator at a private liberal arts college I’ve learned a lot about creating business models that work and who might become a successful entrepreneur. It’s not about having access to capital or area of study. Rather, it’s about having the right skills, the right process and the right heart.

1. The right skills.

Marketing innovation. As Michael Ellsberg wrote in The Education of Millionaires, the prerequisite to selling is listening. It’s important to understand people and their needs, build networks and relationships and create unique solutions to pitch effectively.

Managing risk. Entrepreneurs aren’t risk takers as much as they’re risk minimizers. One way to minimize risk is to bootstrap: Provide the resources for a startup with customer revenues. Another way is to follow the advice of Eric Ries, pioneer of the lean startup movement, proponent of the “build-measure-learn” mantra.

Test all business model assumptions, ranging from the notion of the customer problem to the hypothosized revenue stream. Startup expert Ash Maurya wrote in Running Lean that the job of entrepreneurs is to find a business model that works before running out of money.

Leading oneself and others. Entrepreneurs keep going when others stop trying. They overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They build tribes. They transcend the status quo, form new relationships and patterns of behavior and bring change where it’s sometimes unwanted.

Having experienced the process, entrepreneurs quickly adapt and confidently try new things. And things don’t always go as planned. Entrepreneurs, like leaders in the “fundamental state,”  a term coined by Robert Quinn in Building the Bridge As You Walk Across It,have the “adaptive confidence,” “detached interdependence” and “grounded vision” to figure things out.

2. The right process.

Entrepreneurship is a discipline. Peter Drucker, sometimes called the “inventor of management,” argued that entrepreneurship is a management discipline. It’s a process that can be learned and applied.

Discipline implies a process. Entrepreneur and educator, Steve Blank, outlined the customer development process in The Four Steps to the Epiphany, which was validated and further refined by Maurya and Ries for their own startups (Spark59 and IMVU, respectively). The process begins with customer discovery or understanding problems from consumers’ perspective and testing whether the entrepreneur’s solution fits.

Then there’s customer validation or determining how, when and where customers (the market) and the entrepreneur’s solution (the product) meet and value can be exchanged. And customer creation entails discovering how to entice the next wave of customers to move en masse toward the sales channel. Then and only then should resources be spent to build a company to support the business model.

That last step is called company creation. Before I became a lean startup convert, I used to ask students to do the company creation step first. They wrote long business plans outlining the structure of their company before any of them knew or had tested if they had a business model that worked. How wrong I was. And how much student time and resources I wasted!

3. The right heart.

Love of the game. It takes much trial and error to find a business model that works. If a businessperson doesn’t love the process, he’ll lose energy not only before running out of money but also before it’s even the right time to ask for money.

Commitment. So what determines if entrepreneurs keep going? Love, like skill, involves both nature and nurture. It entails affection, passion and discipline. It requires both the heart and head. As is the case in a marriage, a commitment to putting others first is needed for getting through the tough times. The entrepreneur should find ways to complement others’ skills and invite them to complement hers. Entrepreneurship is one of the ultimate team sports.

Skills, process and heart can be learned. They also flow from some natural endowments.

The most difficult challenge in operating an incubator at the college level is giving students enough time to discover and develop the skills, process and heart to become successful entrepreneurs. And if they do, the next challenge is giving them the opportunity to prove that they deserve additional support to find a business model that works.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

Why Entrepreneurs Should Listen to Alibaba’s Jack Ma

The two options for Internet startups, all entrepreneurs know, have long been B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business). But in his speech at Softbank World 2014, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s self-made founder and CEO, declared open the era of C2B, or consumer to business, an era in which customers will soon completely dictate to companies what they need and only companies that accommodate them will thrive.

Ma’s notion is so on-target that it would be worth heeding even if his company wasn’t launching a record-breaking IPO. Currently, seven major trends back his paradigm-shifting vision.

The TaoBao Model

If you’ve looked into Alibaba because of its IPO, you probably know that a huge chunk of its profit comes from a platform called TaoBao. Think eBay meets Etsy, with the China manufacturing backbone behind it. Alibaba.com at its origin was a website listing thousands of Chinese factories offering production outsourcing services for many sectors. This was a B2B website, to which foreign businesses would come and find the right manufacturer for the products they wanted to produce or export. As such, minimum order requirements ran to thousands of units. When TaoBao emerged, it allowed consumers to trade between themselves as on eBay but also tapped into this existing database, enabling factories and even farmers to become direct-to-consumer businesses overnight, through its order fulfillment centers and services. The TaoBao platform is an incredibly powerful economic engine, when matched with China’s emerging middle class of more than 400 million potential consumers.

TaoBao is the core reason Alibaba’s Jack Ma is so confident about his C2B prediction. If direct consumer to manufacturer relationships are already enabled, all you need to add into the mix is customization options for all goods on offer and voilà–welcome to the C2B era in the world’s second-largest economy.

Digital Distribution and Software as a Service

Music, movies, series, and video games can now all be consumed over the air, without the need to buy a physical component anymore. Virtual goods deliveries present far less overhead than traditional items: Businesses don’t need to store them or ship them, and there is no reproduction cost tied to them. This also allowed the emergence of a new business model: software as a service (SaaS).

SaaS hews to a “freeware” model, through which users can try software for free and purchase additional features through micro-transactions. The model has become dominant in gaming, and is also widely adopted by B2B startups, which provide a basic service to their clients on the cheap and then find ways to charge the top-tier accounts.

To generate success, the free-to-play model often means that the game developer must deliver frequent content updates, with new levels, new characters, new features, and new powers. The best way to deliver the right content, which will guarantee an uptake in revenue, is to listen to the members of your existing audience as to what they want next. In the product era, you would just ship the final iteration and customers had no real say in what was being offered. But this shift in the customer-company relationship has consequences that run deep.

Social Media

For consumers, social networks are a place to get in direct contact with brands and voice their concerns, and where they gather to apply pressure for a change in policy or products. Even the ending of a major video game like Mass Effect 3 can be altered through public outcry nowadays. Combine this with software as a service and you get pretty strong dynamics for consumers’ inspiring, and at times even leading, creators in one direction or another.

And it’s not just Facebook or Twitter. Sina Weibo, QQ, and TenCent WeChat give you access to hundreds of millions of people in China. VKontakte pretty much puts the Russian population at your fingertips. Ask.fm lets anyone and everyone interview members, without any form of moderation from a talk show host. As for Pinterest, its ever-growing impact on e-commerce sales demonstrates how social media are becoming deeply intertwined with fashion, trendsetting, and goods consumption.

User-Generated Content

YouTube, Twitch.TV, Instagram, DeviantArt–all these platforms rely on their user base to generate content and keep them alive. Many entertainment productions integrate some UGC component in their marketing campaigns, hoping to boost virality this way. Countless video games implement generated content into their franchises, be it by encouraging “mods,” by allowing live video-sharing in one touch, or by baking editing possibilities into the product.

The trend is no longer limited to the digital world. Look at Pepsi’s Spire experiment: The drink customization machine allows consumers up to 1,000 flavor combinations. When Lays runs country-based contests allowing people to submit their ideas for new flavors of chips and then produces the winning idea en masse, that is also a form of UGC.

Crowdfunding

With the rise of Kickstarter, and other more niche crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo, Pubslush, YouCaring, Seed&Spark, and GiveForward, consumers now vote with their wallet right at product inception and incubation. Now companies can turn to fans with an early demo or even a paper concept and not only ask them if they would buy, but actually give them the opportunity to preorder the thing right now, providing the project with funding to materialize in the process. For creators and inventors, the ecosystem allows them to try ideas on a much smaller budget. For consumers, it increases their power over what gets made.

3-D Printing

Although we are still far away from every household’s having a good quality color 3-D printer at home, allowing businesses to deliver physical goods in file format directly to consumers, the French company Sculpteo has struck major deals with Adobe to let you order a physical production of any 3-D file you create in Photoshop. Shapeways has entered agreements with Hasbro to a run a SuperFanArt initiative, through which fans can create and even sell 3-D print designs based on the My Little Pony franchise.

In the video games industry, many startups are working on in-app merchandising solutions that revolve around 3-D printing. Toyze enables players of Cut the Rope and Pouto to make personalized 3-D printed items based on in-game characters and virtual pets and get them delivered to their doorstep. In similar fashion, Chair and Sandboxr let you 3-D print high-quality figurines of characters from Infinity Blade III. GLU mobile partnered with Ntensify at the end of last year to try out an innovative angle in its mobile game Deer Hunter: The option to purchase 3-D printed merchandise was tied to in-game achievements. Only if you completed a level with a particularly high score, or if you reached the top of a leaderboard, or reached a key point in the game, were you offered the opportunity to 3-D print a unique trophy to materialize that moment. The object you chose to 3-D print and order would engrave your personal score within the design. This is where 3-D printed swag gets the most exciting: fully personalized and customized designs tied to memorable events and moments. Two recently opened startups also believe and heavily bet on this: FabZat and Things3D.

Now, with the new ChefJet 3D Printer from 3D Systems, another possibility is 3-D printing of computer-designed desserts and candies, thereby adding edible marketing into the mix. Metal is coming next. Just imagine what big game universes with massive player bases, such as Angry Birds or League of Legends, could do with such tools. Now consider how blockbuster movies and music superstars could also capitalize on this trend.

The Internet of Things

Smartwatches are just the first wave. Soon enough we’ll have fridges capable of figuring out, on the basis of our usual consumption, that we need to order more butter before the weekend and then sorting out promo offers from e-tailers’ digital catalogs before automatically placing the right order using brand preferences and pricing, all without any form of human intervention. In coming years, there will be CPUs in pretty much everything we own or wear.

As opposed to a device, clothes we wear are highly dependent on taste and culture. Therefore, it will only be natural for electronics manufacturers to team up with fashion designers going forward. In a second phase, it’s totally within grasp to imagine that social media, UGC, and 3-D printing will all be assimilated by the movement, and that components will eventually be available to the hobbyists, ushering us into an era in which there will definitely be unique pieces of smartwear. A company called Normal already 3-D prints earplugs that are specifically designed for your ears. Disney can turn any 3-D printed item into a speaker. It’s only a matter of time before all this research and technology is merged together into applications that will provide consumers with levels of customization well beyond present boundaries.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

10 Things Entrepreneurs Didn’t Worry About 10 Years Ago

It’s hard to believe, but 10 years ago entrepreneurs somehow managed to start, grow, and sell companies without spending even a second of mental energy on these now all-important topics:

1. iOS versus Android

In 2004, the iPhone was still just a twinkle in Apple’s eye, and if you wanted a cell phone for business you got a Blackberry. Today, you must decide whether to build your business infrastructure on Apple’s proprietary system or the Android family of products–a decision akin to going with either Apple or IBM in 1984.

2. Freemium

In 2004, businesses were still able to insist that “you get what you pay for.” Today, however, giving away your product (or most of it) has become a viable, if difficult to execute, busines (PayPal me a dollar and I’ll send you the rest of this paragraph.)

3. Becoming a billionaire

In 2004, for most entrepreneurs, making a million dollars was a very cool thing indeed. After the movie The Social Network was released, however, it became clear that if you don’t make at least a billion dollars, you’re not just uncool but pretty much a big loser.

4. Viral marketing

In 2004, sharing a promotional video meant copying an AVI file and sending it to somebody via email or snail mail. Today, however, people want their corporate videos to go viral. Surprisingly, few firms do the obvious: include some footage of a cat riding a bicycle.

5. Social networking

In 2004, MySpace (remember those guys?) was only a year old and networking online meant sharing your bootlegged Black Eyed Peas mp3 files. Today, if your business isn’t plugged into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you might as well be wandering in the wilderness.

6. Millennials

In 2004, management consultants provided advice on the challenge of managing Gen-Xers. Today, management consultants provide advice on the challenge of managing Millennials. Oddly, nobody seems to notice that the advice is always the same, regardless of the generation on the rise.

7. Shark Tank

In 2004, the only way the CEO of a startup could get featured on national television was by getting bit by a shark on the reality show Survivor. Today, entrepreneurs have their own reality show, where they can enjoy both the dream of winning over big investors and the schadenfreude of watching peers get ridiculed.

8. Big data

In 2004, data was just data. Back then, processing data was something that happened in a back-office data center. Then somebody (probably a management consultant) figured out that the otherwise dull word data sounded more impressive and exciting when preceded by the adjective big. And thus a buzzword was born.

9. Crowdfunding

In 2004, the only way to get funded was selling your future to venture capitalists. If you can’t find a traditional investor today, you can pitch your idea directly to the masses. There is one disadvantage, though: Everyone in your crowd of investors will expect a free T-shirt.

10. Legal weed

In 2004, getting high with a customer still meant having a three-martini lunch. However, today in Washington and Colorado there are no doubt some business deals being sealed not with a toast but by everyone getting toasted.

 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Snapchat Scores Nike’s Director Of Digital To Win Sports Partnerships

Snapchat could be the new way to experience sporting events from afar. At the very least, sports and athletics brands are jumping up and down trying to reach the young, active demographic Snapchat has captured. That’s why the ephemeral app’s latest hire has so much potential. Snapchat just poached Eric Toda, Nike’s global director of digital, to help run its business and partnerships team, a source familiar with the move confirmed to me. Snapchat is still getting back to me with more details on the hire.

Toda could get more sports venues and teams using Snapchat’s Our Story feature to create collaborative, decentralized live streams of their events. He might also assist with setting up geofilters for stadiums, and teaching brands how to make Snapchat content that feels fun and authentic, rather than like stodgy ads.

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The timing makes sense for Toda. Nike’s seen talent on its technological side slip away since it announced layoffs in its FuelBand division amid rumors it planned to shut down the wearable unit. Nike’s CEO went on to reveal the company would focus on software rather than hardware. Its social media chief Musa Tariq recently left for Apple, which along with Nest, Intel, Oculus and Microsoft has reportedly been courting Nike’s engineering talent.

But Nike’s loss is Snapchat’s gain. Toda’s one-year stint at Nike included work on “social media, content, licensed apparel, e-commerce, mobile applications, entertainment (video games), media, digital/retail, and content syndication.” All that should come in handy at Snapchat. Before that, he spent four-and-a-half years working on media and marketing solutions for Facebook.

Snapchat has already dipped its toes into sports, running an Our Story for the World Cup final, and signing up pro teams. It’s even made special geofilters users can overlay on their photos taken at sports stadiums or gyms like Soul Cycle.

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Snapchat might be the perfect social app for sports, because both are inherently ephemeral. When you talk about a game in progress on Facebook or Twitter, your post lives on forever even though the match is soon over and your content becomes irrelevant. But nothing on Snapchat sticks around longer than 24 hours. That means you can cheer when your team scores without worrying about looking dumb if they end up losing. If Toda can sell sports brands on the ability to deliver the same urgency and heat of the moment through Snapchat that people get on the field, fans might start checking the app as often as ESPN.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

5 Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs to Stay Organized

5 Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs to Stay Organized

Why get a personal secretary when your smartphone can organize your day, your minutes, your business trips and even your clutter?

For entrepreneurs, having a smartphone loaded with the right kind of apps not only provides a way to hold you accountable for tasks at hands but also allows you to focus on what you do best: running a business.

1. Evernote.

An easy-to-use app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. It not only allows you to take notes, snap photos, create to-do lists, scan business cards and record voice reminders but also makes everything searchable. As an entrepreneur you tend to attend so many meetings, seminars or conferences that keep you away from the comfort of your office that you need an app to stay organized and improve your overall productivity.

2. TripIt.

Entrepreneurs travel, which means logistics, schedules, last-minute delays and confirmations. TripIt keeps it all in one place. By simply forwarding your travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com, you can get a detailed daily itinerary for every trip. The app is so useful that it makes sure you focus on where you are going rather than how you are getting there.

3. UberConference.

With a shoestring budget that every entrepreneur rides on, you can barely afford to make overseas calls every day. That’s when apps such as UberConference come in handy. It’s one of the most convenient ways of doing a conference call without burning a hole in your pocket. Every free membership starts off with a maximum conference call size of five but by linking with social media accounts, you get rewarded with a cap increase up to a total of 17. Not a bad deal.

4. Scanner Pro.

Scribbling brilliant ideas at the back of a napkin in a conference, paying nasty bills for a big client or simply writing a process on whiteboard. These are things that get easily washed away from your memory (and wallet) the next day that you wish you had a pocket scanner to keep a record. Scanner Pro transforms your iPhone and iPad into portable scanners. So next time you have a brainwave, you know which app to tap on.

5. Dropbox.

We all know that Dropbox lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. And while everyone probably has it on their computers, Dropbox’s mobile app is an even better option for entrepreneurs. Being able to access your files anywhere you go is invaluable. You can see a document on your smartphone, laptop and tablet seamlessly. It saves time and money.

 

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

iPhone 6 Plus Review: The First Truly Well-Designed Big Smartphone

iPhone 6 Plus Review: The First Truly Well-Designed Big Smartphone

Apple is launching not one, but two premium smartphones today, and the iPhone 6 Plus is the one many probably were skeptical even existed just a few short months ago. With a screen size measuring 5.5-inches across the diagonal, it’s well into the territory labeled “phablet” on the ancient sea charts of mariners who’ve braved the Android waters. However, Apple’s version of a smartphone that strains the inclusion of “phone” in any word describing it might surprise even those dead set against the trend toward ever-bigger mobile screens.

Basics

  • 5.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 display, 401 ppi with 1300:1 contrast
  • 16, 64 or 128GB storage
  • A8 processor (64-bit)
  • 8MP iSight camera (rear) with 1.5 micron pixels and optical image stabilization, 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera (front)
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 20-band LTE support
  • MSRP: 16GB for $299 on contract/$749 contract free; 64GB for $399 on contract/$849 contract free; 128GB for $499 on contract/$949 contract free
  • Product info page

Pros

  • Larger screen is great for productivity and media consumption
  • Battery and camera noticeably better than iPhone 6

Cons

  • Not a one-handed device for most
  • Priced above even the usual premium segment

Design

The iPhone 6 Plus is literally an exaggerated version of the iPhone 6 in terms of its physical design, with dimensions stretched to accommodate its much larger 5.5-inch display. It’s 0.01-inches thicker, just under half-an inch wider, and just under an inch taller than the iPhone 6, and you’ll notice each of those increases in the hand, including the additional thickness, even if it is just a shade of difference. In terms of carrying and holding the device, the additional size makes for a less ‘perfect’ ergonomic quality, something the iPhone 6 definitely achieves, but there’s still lots to love about the industrial design of the 6 Plus.

  • Like the iPhone 6, it benefits from rounded edges and smooth surfaces that recall the iPad mini and iPad Air. The curved sides make it easier to page back and forth through content with swipes, and it’s easy to imagine how a design with right angles would’ve resulted in an uncomfortable grip with a device this size. The screen is also the star here, and that 5.5-inch high res beauty is set off by thin side bezels, and top and bottom bezels that appear much smaller since they take up a far smaller percentage of the overall front surface of the device.

    Attention to detail is Apple’s forte, and that’s apparent in the way the volume keys, relocated power button (it’s on the right side now) and lock switch are all machined. Perforations including the speaker holes on the bottom right are similarly well-executed, and overall the sense you get of the iPhone 6 Plus is one of extreme high quality, which is not something that can be said for the rest of the ‘phablet’ field. Apple has managed to make the very first well-designed smartphone of epic scale, regardless of your thoughts on the merit of the category as a whole.

    Performance

    The iPhone 6 Plus may be powering a much larger display, and it may need to output content at a higher resolution, but it’s not showing any additional strain vs. the iPhone 6 despite the extra legwork required. The 64-bit A8 process that Apple has designed, which uses a new, smaller and more power-efficient 20nm process, is more than up to the task of serving up animations, swipes, switches and multitasking for the 6 Plus.

    If you’re new to the world of iOS and iPhone, you’ll probably just note that the performance is excellent and move on. But if you’re upgrading from an older device, like perhaps the iPhone 4 or 4S, you’re going to instantly take note of just how speedy everything is with this new processor architecture. The screen sizes are stealing headlines, but the performance of the A8, in graphics-intensive applications and in rendering interface flourishes, means that you’ll be feeling the effects of Apple’s next-generation processor improvements long after people are used to the bigger displays.

    iphone-6-lteThe iPhone 6 Plus, like the iPhone 6, also features faster wireless performance, on both cellular and Wi-Fi connections. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi felt blazingly fast when used on my home network, which is run from a current-generation Airport Extreme that supports the latest Wi-Fi speeds. LTE is now able to handle up to 150 mbps connections, where supported (and with 20 bands supported on a single model number, you’re more likely to find it works with carriers around the world). Apple has also worked with carriers to get LTE roaming working with more international carrier arrangements, and I found that my AT&T testing sim provided a strong Rogers LTE connection here in Canada.

    Features

    Apple has brought a number of great new features to both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, including Apple Pay, which works as advertised in demos but will launch publicly in October in the U.S., and ‘Focus Pixels’ phase detection autofocus for faster, better picture taking. But there are a few featues that are specific to the iPhone 6 Plus that make it a device destined to appeal to both power users and everyday customers looking to simplify their life with a single gadget, instead of requiring both a tablet and phone (and even a computer).

    iphone-6-plus-touch-assistReachability is the feature Apple created to help users deal with much larger devices, regardless of the size of their hands and digits. The iPhone 6 Plus leans on this especially, as it’s impossible for anyone not in the NBA to reach their thumb across to the top opposite corner. I find it difficult to even reach across the other side of the screen, let alone the corner, when one-handing the device. Reachability helps reach the stuff that’s in the top row, but it doesn’t bring down the status bar on the Home screen (it does in app), which would be helpful, and it’s still a stretch to reach the relocated opposite corner.

    For most tasks, I find the iPhone 6 Plus to be a two-handed device – but I also find that I’m absolutely fine with that. The 6 Plus is closer in usage style to an iPad mini, in my experience, albeit one that’s pocketable and capable of full cellular voice communications. Part of the reason that it works so well as a tablet-style gadget is that Apple has introduced special landscape support for both the homescreen and some its first-party apps, which really add to my ability to be productive using them.

    The apps in question include Mail, Messages and Calendar, and these now offer up overviews in a column on the left, and detail views on the right, much like they do on tablet or desktop devices. In Mail, it lets you quickly scroll through and triage your email without having to constantly swipe back and forth, and in Messages, it lets you keep abreast of the latest goings on in multiple conversations at once. Using these landscape views effectively almost requires two-handed use, but it ends up feeling well worth the trade-off.

    Apple has also introduced new optical image stabilization for still pictures to the iPhone 6 Plus, and the effects are very impressive. That’s something I’ll address in greater detail in the ‘Camera’ section below.

    The new Slow-Mo function captures action slowed down even further than before, and as you can see in the demo video above, that makes for some fun results. In particular, if you pay attention to the moments when Chelsea licks her lips in the video above, you can see just how good the new video feature is at capturing even blink-of-an-eye action in painstaking detail.

    Display

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    The iPhone 6 Plus has the best screen of any iPhone. It’s above that of either the iPhone 6 or 5s in terms of pixel density, and it’s capable of playing back full HD content in native resolution. The improved contrast and color rendering Apple has also worked into its screen tech is also even more obvious here than it is on the iPhone 6, and that results in a display that’s perfect for viewing photos or watching movies, as well as for showing off well-designed apps and software.

    By the numbers, the iPhone 6 Plus’ display offers 88 percent more viewing area that the iPhone 5s, but at a cost of just 55 percent more volume. That means that while it’s very big, it’s not nearly as gigantic as if they’d just increased the proportions of the 5s. The screen trade-offs have real benefits for certain kinds of users beyond just enabling landscape mode, too – with Display Zoom, all interface elements suddenly become easier to read even for those with age-related vision loss, and that’s going to be a big selling point.

    I showed my mother both phones and she was instantly drawn to the larger display of the 6 Plus. For these users, too, the 6 Plus can represent a single-device computing solution; it replicates much of the functionality of a tablet, with additional portability, and if you don’t do much beyond browsing the web, or interacting with the rich field of current apps, you’ll be better-served by this with its always-on connectivity than you would by even the combo of a smaller phone and a Chromebook, for instance.

    Camera

    iphone-6-plus-cameraApple’s other big selling point here, besides the advantages of a larger display, is the improved camera. Thanks to extra space inside the iPhone 6 Plus, it managed to fit in an optical image stabilization module, which can actually shift the camera lens around both vertically and horizontally to capture a clear image free of the camera shake that can afflict photos taken freehand. And the optical stabilization, in addition to the software-based stabilization Apple already uses in its iPhone camera, results in a photo-taking experience like no other.

    As you can see, it works great both indoors and out, and produces some of the best looking low light photos I’ve seen out of a mobile device. The iPhone 6 Plus image stabilization results in pictures that look crisp even when captured casually, and Apple’s new autofocus tricks mean there’s almost no waiting before a scene is properly focused and exposed, with as little manual intervention as possible. You can still manually adjust the point of focus and exposure, but the camera is smart enough that in most cases, you shouldn’t have to.

    Apple’s video recording stabilization means you can stroll and shoot with results that aren’t debilitating to watch, and that’s a big plus. The optical image stabilization works for still images only, but software-based anti-shake is in action in the clip above, and it helps make the iPhone’s movie capture another highlight of the overall camera package.

    Battery

    The iPhone 6 Plus has another trick up its sleeve, aside from the optical image stabilization and the landscape orientation bonuses: Better battery life. The improved powerhouse on the 6 Plus affords it a full 10 hours more talk time compared to the iPhone 6, plus an additional 6 days of standby time (16 in total), as well as 2 more hours of browsing on 3G and LTE. It’s a trick that, with mixed use, resulted in at least a full day of extra use over the iPhone 6 in my testing, which could stretch to even longer if I used it only sparingly. During one cycle, where I used my phone only a few times a day to check calls, weather and messages, I got over three days of standby time and nearly 11 hours of use.

    This alone might be enough reason to get people to opt for the 6 Plus over the 6, and it definitely helps increase the overall appeal of Apple’s big phone. Accustomed as I am to using my phone during the day and plugging it in when I get home in the evening, however, it’s not as great of concern – but already there have been a few times when an extended lack of readily available outlets have shown the merits of the 6 Plus and its capacious power core.

    Bottom Line

    iphone-6-plus-rear-low-close
    The iPhone 6 is still the best smartphone for your money in my opinion, owing mostly to the fact that the majority of people are going to feel most comfortable using a smaller device as their daily companion of choice. But the iPhone 6 Plus surprised me: I went into this review expecting to find it was a niche gadget, reserved for those seeking the absolute top-of-the-line, convenience be damned. Instead, I found myself getting strangely comfortable with a phone I still find difficult to use one-handed. In short, the 6 is my favorite current smartphone, but the 6 Plus is its closest competition.

    I suspect we’ll see the trade-offs Apple has made in building a phone on this scale downplayed further by the introduction of the Apple Watch next year, as it means the iPhone 6 Plus can stay in the pocket for small things like seeing a message or figuring out why it just vibrated to indicate some kind of inbound notification. Even know, it’s a device well worth your consideration, and if you’re thinking about which to purchase, you should consider how much you value: 1) The ability to more easily manage communications from your pocket; 2) Having energy reserves at the end of the day; 3) Putting the best possible mobile camera in your pocket; or 4) Replacing up to three devices with just one for casual users. If you rate any of these things as high priority, then the 6 Plus might be the better choice.

    -Courtesy: Techcrunch

    The Real Reason Most Entrepreneurs Succeed

    On a beautiful summer evening, treading water about 500 yards from shore as the sun sank toward the horizon, I realized I was going to drown.

    It started innocently enough. I was drafted onto a cornhole team without realizing the losers had agreed to swim out to a red crab pot float and back.

    Of all the people who can actually swim, I am probably the worst swimmer in the world. Throw me in the deep end and I can swim to the side. Throw me in the deep end and I can tread water for a few minutes. But that’s hardly swimming.

    So as I walked toward the waves I thought, “OK, how hard can this be? It’s not a race. I can take my time. And it doesn’t look that far away.”

    About 100 yards from shore, the bobbing red float looked really far away.

    So I tried to trick myself. “I won’t look at the float,” I thought. “I’ll just swim. I’ll swim for a long time. I’ll wait as long as I can to look at the float, and then I’ll be surprised and happy about how close I’ve gotten!”

    So I swam and resisted the temptation to look for the float. I kept swimming, kept resisting. Then I started to wonder if I had already passed the buoy. How stupid would it be to swim farther than I needed to? So I looked up.

    The red float was still a really long way away.

    Great.

    I had a choice. I could give up, turn around, swim back to shore, and admit I couldn’t do it. That was the wise, prudent, sensible choice.

    But, of course, I decided to keep going.

    An eternity later, I reached the float. I turned and looked back. The shore seemed impossibly far away. And just then a larger wave crested over me just as I was breathing in.

    I panicked.

    “There’s no way I can make it back,” I thought. “It’s too far. I can’t do it. I’m going to drown!” (You know when you get scared and freeze up and it’s like you suddenly can’t run or move or, in this case, swim at all? That was me.)

    Thrashing and coughing, I instinctively began to raise an arm to wave to people on shore for help when an image suddenly hit me. I remembered how I felt eight miles in on the 12-mile climb up the gravel fire road of what local cyclists call the “dark side” of Reddish Knob.

    I remembered how badly I hurt: heart racing, lungs burning, legs screaming, vision blurring.

    I remembered how I desperately wanted to stop, and I remembered that I didn’t stop.

    “You’re OK,” I told myself. “You know you can tread water. So for now, just do that. Just chill.”

    And I did.

    Then I thought, “I can do this. Shoot, I’ve done worse. It’s just a matter of time and effort. Keep your heart rate reasonable, flip over on your back occasionally and just kick so you can rest your arms, and eventually you’ll make it. Just go moment to moment. It’s going to suck, but you can do it.”

    I was really tired–and grateful–by the time I finally reached the shore, but I made it. And it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Shoot, I could have swum farther. (Because we can always,always do more.)

    How? I was able to harness the power of early suffering.

    Many entrepreneurs that are successful today are the product of bootstrapping and sacrificing and scraping and clawing and fighting and never, ever giving up, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

    Their early struggles forge resolve. Their early struggles forge perseverance.

    And their early struggles continue to inform even the most successful entrepreneurs’ professional and personal lives, providing an almost inexhaustible foundation of willpower and confidence and perseverance.

    All the successful entrepreneurs I know say they would not trade their early startup days of incredible struggle and effort and suffering for anything. What they learned about themselves not only carries them through the tough times but also gives them the confidence to not just think but know they can do more than they ever imagined possible–no matter what challenges they may face.

    Be grateful for the struggle. Be grateful for the suffering.

    Someday it will pay off–and in ways you might never expect.

    -Courtesy: Inc.com

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