Why Your Boss Wants You to Make Friends at Work (Infographic)

Strong office friendships don’t just create a more enjoyable work environment. They also pay dividends in the form of higher productivity.

Employees with a best friend at work have a higher commitment to quality and are more likely to say they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day, according to Gallup Business Journal.

The infographic below from OfficeVibe shares 11 reasons why office friendships help build better businesses.

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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.

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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

    iphone-6-plus-display
    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

    DipJar Raises Funding For A Tip Jar Where You Pay With Plastic, Not Spare Change

    The move to a more “cashless” society has not been without its victims – namely, those whose incomes relied on the spare change and small donations that once came from customers emptying their pockets, but are now locked up in digital bits and credit card swipes. The lowly tip jar today often sits empty, as few carry around the quarters and dollars with which to fill it. A company called DipJar wants to change that, and has now raised a $420,000 seed round to scale production of its hardware.

    The round was led by Project 11, the new fund from Bob Mason, Brightcove founder, and Katie Rae and Reed Sturtevant, former Techstars Boston directors. Other angels in the round include Will Herman, Warren Katz, Joe Caruso, Mike Dornbrook, Bill Warner, Scott Heller, and others.

    The New York-based company, currently incubated by the Bolt accelerator in Boston, was founded by CEO Ryder Kessler, a former director of strategy at New York cab-sharing startup Bandwagon and VP of Sales Jordan Bar Am, previously of McKinsey, and the co-founder of fruit importer Oke USA.

    Kessler said the idea occurred to him simply because he began to “feel like a jerk” at one of his favorite coffee shops which only offered tipping via a cash-only tip jar.

    Not only was everyone paying with plastic these days, reducing the tips overall, the baristas there also confided in him that they would rather the store stay empty since there was no financial upside to an influx of customers.

    The problem with the reduction in cash-based tips means lower-income workers or those who once depended on a tip-based boost to their salaries, would likely turnover faster as they exited to try to find better-paying jobs, Kessler realized. That’s bad for the businesses who would then have to incur more training costs, and, ultimately, the turnover could affect customer service, too.

    DipJar_FrescoBaristas, of course, aren’t the only ones affected by customers’ disappearing cash. Deli workers and sandwich makers, ice cream scoopers, coat checks, valets, barbers and hairstylists, hotel housekeepers, and more also once relied on handfuls of dollars customers gave to them, whether by hand, placed in tip jars, or left in envelopes.

    Though customers are now paying by credit or debit, they’re not always getting receipts, or getting those that do don’t necessarily have a line to enter a hand-written tip, because business owners don’t want the hassle of accounting for the extra funds and distributing those back to their employees.

    This is what the DipJar, as it’s called, aims to solve.

    How It Works

    The company began building custom prototypes of the DipJar tip jars, and rolled just under two dozen out to New York-area businesses and charity groups starting back in summer 2012. One recent adopter of the technology is the Central Park Conservancy which used the DipJar to raise funds from those attending a film festival, and now plans to roll it out to visitor centers.

    DipJar_Dos Toros

     

     

    Currently, the DipJar’s hardware involves off-the-shelf parts, but with the funding, the company is working to scale up to mass production.

    The unit itself is basic: inside the jar is a standard credit card reader, and not much more. The customer inserts their card and pulls it out to swipe, and the jar will automatically deduct a pre-configured amount (as determined by the business).

    Just as important, the act of swiping makes a loud “change clinking” sound so the employee will know you’ve tipped. That will save you from one of those awkward Seinfeld situations (remember George Costanza reaching back into the tip jar because he wanted to make sure he got credit for having done the deed?). Kessler also says version 2 will include a light array as well, along with other refinements, to help encourage and notify other customers and staff of the tips being processing.

    The funding will be used to grow the team of two to 4 or 5 over the next few weeks, and further develop the software for businesses that will allow merchants to enter in employee information and track tipping as a metric of customer satisfaction, if they choose. The team is also working to automate the payouts to employees, which are currently distributed by check every two weeks. And, of course, the hardware is being improved to make it a scalable solution.

    The team is also gearing up to be ready when the shift to EMV takes place, or if Apple Pay helps push NFC adoption into the mainstream, says Kessler. “We already own the trademark for ‘TapJar,’” he notes regarding the latter.

    Dipjar_Central Park

     

    Kessler won’t detail the cost to produce the jar today, or how much it will sell for, explaining that the company has been exploring several business models, including monthly pricing, upfront pricing, and pricing by volume. Similarly, it’s too early to disclose metrics of the DipJar’s impact on increasing tips, he says, since those can vary wildly by business and the DipJar only has a handful of customers today.

    However, he would tell us that the DipJar hasn’t cannibalized cash tips, from what they’ve seen. “The DipJar brings in new money for the recipients,” he says.

    Plus, he adds, though the team was planning to run short 3 to 6 month tests, “no one wanted to give it back…that speaks to the success of the product.”

     

    -Courtesy: Techcrunch

    5 Frugal Millionaires and Their Best Advice

    The wealthy who flaunt it, who are the Joneses, are the only rich people you see. There’s a bigger camp of frugal millionaires who shy away from the limelight and often are richer than the ones you see splashed over tabloid covers. The frugal millionaires are the ones you want to learn from, starting with some of their most sage advice.

    1. Gilbert Gottfried, actor and comedian

    One of the few famous folks who are equally famous for frugality, Gottfried highlighted his tendencies when he and his wife were featured on Wife Swap. When he said, “If someone else is paying for it, food just tastes a lot better,” he was dead serious. From taking public transportation on dates to refusing to ever host parties because they are costly and people come just for the food, some of his moves are extreme but there’s no denying that he’s hung onto his wealth.

    2. Shailene Woodley, actress

    Woodley has made some headlines for her frugal ways, such as refusing to buy any new clothes except for red-carpet appearances (and those are often donated by designers). Her “I exclusively buy used clothes,” quote had every teen girl heading to Goodwill. A proud thriftier who prefers to enjoy her fame and wealth under the radar, she proves it’s possible to be a trending actor without driving a Bentley. She’s helping to make frugal cool for younger generations.

    3. Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby

    He sold his company for millions, but Sivers never let getting rich change his healthy money habits. “I’ve always been very debt-averse. I don’t like being in debt at all, even on the small level. I never bought anything with a credit card unless I had that much money in the bank. The credit card was just a convenience. I never went into negative debt on a credit card, even as a teenager, because I just hated that feeling. They say that there are two ways to be rich: One is getting more money, and the other one is lowering your expectations, lowering your needs.”

    4. Dan Nainan, comedian

    Nainan said it best when he talked about overspending’s simply not making sense, no matter how much money you have. “Figure out how you can save money. Don’t spend as much. Don’t go to Best Buy–get it off eBay because sometimes it’s a 10th of the cost of retail. Go to Craigslist. I use Craigslist and eBay a lot. You can save a tremendous amount of money because people buy stuff and they don’t need it anymore, and it’s cheaper than buying retail. You’re not only saving money, but you’re also buying something from someone so they’re not throwing it out. That’s helping the environment a lot. I mean, there are countless ways you can save a lot of money and not consume a lot. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

    5. Matthew Tuttle, founder of Tuttle Wealth Management

    Budgets seem too constricting to you? According to Tuttle, all that really matters is that you’re at least saving something. “I’m not a big fan of budgets. I’m not a big fan of trying to impose that discipline on someone who just can’t do it. I also find a lot of times spouses vehemently disagree when it comes to budgeting. What I am much more a fan of is, save as much as you can and if you’re saving as much as you can, as long as you’re not going into debt, then I don’t necessarily care where you’re spending your money.”

    Being frugal is a crucial part of building and sustaining wealth. What good does a million do if you’re filing for bankruptcy a year later? Get it, save it, and make it work for you.

    -Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com 

    Steve Jobs’s 3 Most Surprising Secrets to Success

    In the final minutes before Apple’s press conference, my thoughts drifted to what Steve Jobs would have thought about his legacy. I envied him in high school as one of the few guys for whom the creative die seemed to be cast as a teenager. His swagger throughout life and his approach to leadership never seemed to change–until the years just before his death.

    Steve never lost that sparkle in his eye or that ever-present flow of ideas, even in his last moments. But in the final weeks before his passing, he shared three things that shocked me–not so much because he admitted them, but because the first one was something he’d embraced only fairly recently, while the other two were lifelong values.

    1. “Ditch your ego completely at least once each day.”

    Dump judging others as well as the self-criticism. Be open to hear what you need to change on the long, winding road to building your dream. This is something that Jobs acknowledged was a real challenge for him. (Perhaps it would be for any of us!) It’s a bit of a paradox of ambition plus humility. You need a lot of hubris to believe your ideas can be the best in the world, but you also risk losing your edge and falling behind unless you’re an obsessive listener. You have to soak up the brilliance of the people and customers you’ve worked so hard to recruit.

    2. “Be unapologetically ambitious about your passion.”

    This was Steve’s (and is most leaders’) blessing and curse. Your obsession to live your passion against all odds is one of the greatest of all assets, but arrogance is also your biggest weakness. Steve lamented that he led Apple to an unnecessarily high rate of lost talent, as well as ideas that he’d attracted but ignored–particularly back when his career and Apple hit the skids in the ’90s.

    3. “Be grateful to others for what they contribute, but don’t do it for validation.”

    Remember, there are plenty of loving critics and critical lovers who will unintentionally (and intentionally!) sabotage your ambitions because they care for you or they’d like to see you fail. If your venture is meant to impress someone, you’re setting yourself up for endless confusion.

    The advice of a dying man, particularly this guru, is hard to ignore: “Don’t give yourself to anything unless you’re clear that it really matters.”

    -Courtesy: Inc.com