3 little changes that will make a big difference in your online advertising

Online advertising has come a long way from the tacky, blinking banner ads of the 1990s. Today, sophisticated, highly targeted online ads are delivered through a plethora of digital channels, from search engines to mobile apps – and a growing number of marketers are reaping the benefits.

With the right strategy, savvy tools, and smart resource allocation, even the smallest of businesses can take on the giants of the online advertising world.

Here are a few small changes you can make to improve your online advertising and make your digital dollar stretch a little further:

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Are You a New Age CEO?

Change happens at whiplash speed. A quick response is no longer adequate. Instead, companies must anticipate massive external disruptions and become disrupters themselves. In his new book, The Attacker’s Advantage: Turning Uncertainty Into Breakthrough Opportunities, Ram Charan–an adviser to everyone from entrepreneurs to CEOs of the world’s largest corporations–explains the new leadership imperatives: a “born-digital” understanding of technology’s power and the ability to see around corners. Charan spoke with Inc. about how to build “perceptual acuity” and the rise of the “New Age CEO.”

Why is uncertainty more of a problem than it used to be?

Of course companies have always faced uncertainty. But today, we are more than ever before dealing with structural uncertainty, which can completely destroy your market or industry and send you over the cliff. Consumer preferences can change more rapidly and broadly, and more change creators are coming out of nowhere, empowered by communication technologies. So it is no longer enough to be able to adapt to change. You must create the change yourself.

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Why This Startup Isn’t Worried It Left ‘Shark Tank’ Empty-Handed

Liz Bohannon started with a chicken farm and advanced to a tank full of sharks.

After graduating from the University of Missouri in 2008, Bohannon traveled to Uganda with the fuzzy goal of helping the country’s women better access higher education.

When experiments in chicken farming and other ventures failed to raise the funds to get the women to college, Bohannon remembered the sandals she constructed during her collegiate days: rubber flip-flop bottoms tied with ribbon, which reduced the flopping noise when she walked across campus.

Bohannon improved upon the design, fashioning them from local materials. She developed a business model that involved employing Uganda’s female high school graduates who couldn’t afford to continue their education and turning a profit healthy enough to fund their schooling. In Uganda, high school graduates are given nine months before matriculating to earn enough money to pay college tuition (averaging between $2,000 and $3,000). Bohannon promised three women that, if they made sandals for the next eight months, they would get to college.

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Airbnb Is Raising A Monster Round At A $20B Valuation

Airbnb — the platform that lets travellers book private spare rooms and entire homes as an alternative to traditional hotels — is doing some booking of its own. Airbnb is in the process of raising another round of funding that will value it at $20 billion, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The company is believed to be in the process of raising a war chest of close to $1 billion — with about half of that secured. We’ve heard that Airbnb has been courted by investors out of Asia, as well as larger private-equity groups. We’ve not been able to confirm the exact names yet, but one that has come up is Fidelity. Previous investors in the company include TPG, T. Rowe Price, Dragoneer, Founders Fund, Sequoia, DST and more.

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Google is piloting sponsored results for app searches

Google plans to pilot sponsored search results in Google Play in the next few weeks, offering a new way for app developers to promote themselves.

Under the program, sponsored results will include an orange “ad” tag, like you see with paid search results online. Clicking on the ads will direct you to an app instead of a website, though. In the coming weeks, Google says a “limited set of users” will see the ads from some advertisers who are already running search ads for their apps.

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11 Inspiring People Who Lost It All and Came Back Stronger

I was talking with an old friend recently. She’s been going through some rough times: just got laid off, broke up with her boyfriend, had a few other things fall through.

I was sympathetic. We’ve all been there. Still, I gave her my usual, Pollyanna-ish spiel: Bad endings portend good beginnings; failure is fun when it’s done right; it’s always darkest before the dawn. I’m sure I annoyed the heck out of her. Nobody who’s down really wants to hear that stuff–and yet, it’s true.

There’s a long list of people who have lost everything and come back far stronger. So in honor of my friend (and everyone else who’s facing tough times), here are a few amazing and inspiring examples:

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The 4 Embers of the Entrepreneurial Fire

The difference between a Silicon Valley icon and the employee next door isn’t funding — most of the time it isn’t even the idea — it’s the entrepreneurial fire within.

Yet, more often than not, the entrepreneurial flame is extinguished just as quickly as it was lit. So how do you feed the fire?

The list of advice one can get online is endless. However, there are some crucial, fundamental words of wisdom. While these cornerstones can be hard to live by, and even harder to remain steadfast to, they are what makes entrepreneurs successful.

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