3 Very Cool Mobile Apps You’re Not Using

by: Kenneth Cossin

 

With over 775,000 apps in the Apple App Store and more than 800,000 in Google Play  Store, it’s always nice to get quick tips and reviews of apps that are worth downloading.  Well, you’re in luck!  There are three apps that you can download today for free that are not only useful but also that you will enjoy using.

TV Show Tracker

There is an app called TV Show Tracker, created by Pixel Perfect Widgets, that allows you to track all of your favorite TV shows.  Simply add your shows to the app, and it will remind you before your show airs.  Therefore, you don’t have to miss that new episode.

Snip Snap

SnipSnap, is a mobile social couponing app that allows you to quickly find, snip, and save coupons for almost any store.  No more forgetting your coupons at home or searching for them in the newspapers or flyers.  SnipSnap allows you to take photos with your smartphone of any coupon, and it will decipher it for you.  You can also find coupons that others have already snipped and save them for your use.  And the pièce de résistance, SnipSnap notifies you a couple of days before the coupon expires!

Paper Karma

Junk mail plagues us all, right?  Well, there is an app that allows you to take photos of your junk mail, add your address, and PaperKarma, created by Readibl, inc., will stop that junk mail from cluttering your mailbox.  PaperKarma does all the work by contacting the company that mailed it and get your name removed from the distribution lost.  You can also request a status of your request to stop junk mail to see if it was successful.

In summary, you can have fun and be productive with your smartphone.  Enjoy!

Image credit: emergingtech.tbr.edu

7 Tips on How to Stand Out in the Crowd

By: Kenneth Cossin

Feedio.netWe all know someone that seems to continually stand out from everyone else. They make it look completely effortless, and they always seem to be happy. How do they possibly keep up this façade?

People that naturally have a personality that stands out in a crowd have honed skills that many of us have not. Here is a list of seven tools that you can use to be on your way to standing out in the crowd, too!

Confidence
Being able to walk up to anyone and start a conversation is a great test of confidence. Challenge yourself to talk with others about subjects that you know well. You will want to practice many times with friends that you trust. Get feedback on how you did and what you can improve. Pay attention to your gestures, speaking voice, and intonation. Each of these secondary personality traits speaks to your level of confidence.

Comfort
When we’re in a room of people that we do not know, we tend to feel awkward, shy, and a multitude of other uneasy feelings. A simple way to overcome this feeling is to learn to do things alone and to trust that everything will be ok. Try going to the movies or dinner alone. Being around others that you do not know will help you become comfortable in your own skin.

Perception
When observing people that stand out, you will notice that they perceive and record in their minds many personality traits. They gauge conversation direction, tone, and level of formality and respond to the personalities around them accordingly. Listen closely to what people are saying and how they are saying it. Try to use what is being said to your advantage, and try to fit your perceptions of others into your knowledge and experience.

Trust
People tend to judge one another within the first few moments of meeting. Trust is a key element in this judgment process, therefore, be sure that your appearance is appropriate to the situation. Dress in a non-threatening manner, and ensure that you speak in a way that fits those around you. Regional accents and dialects can affect perception and affect how much someone trusts you.

Authority
Everyone loves someone who is knowledgeable, but no one likes a know-it-all. Therefore, even if you do know it all, don’t present yourself in this fashion. Speak and present in a way that you are making others feel like they are your intellectual equal.

The Three “S’s”
Stay informed, stay educated, and stay connected. Always knowing what is happening around you, remaining current on your knowledge, and creating a network not only makes you authoritative but also is a great strategy to successfully standing out.

Happiness
Last but not least, always exhibit a happy personality. People are naturally attracted to happy, upbeat, and positive people. While we’re not happy all of the time, it pays off in many ways to always show others a genuine smile.

Practice these skills whenever you are in public, at work, at school, wherever. Remember that practicing something for 10,000 hours will make you an expert! They take a lot of hard work, but you, too, can stand out in the crowd!

image credit: feedio.net

3 Quick Tips on Writing a Readable Tweet

by: Kenneth Cossin

I know there are so many ways to write a tweet, but are you writing yours to make it easily readable by your followers?  I can guarantee that your readers are not likely to read what you are tweeting if they cannot read it quickly.  Here are my tips on writing a good tweet.

Verify the Link You are Sending

Make sure that the link to the article, story, video, photo, etc. you are sending is well-written  and easy to read with no misspellings, the video plays and is short and sweet, and the photos are attention-grabbing.

Use Hashtags in the Correct Locations

Use hastags in sentences to a minimum.  Place them at the end so as to not interrupt the flow of reading.  Overuse of hashtags makes your tweets look like gibberish.

Place Usernames after Your Links

Typically we will put a Twtter username when we are mentioning someone because of an article they wrote.  Be sure not to place the usernames strewn about throughout the tweet.

Example of a Bad Tweet

#Apple @MacRumors releases the new #iPad #Mini http://boguslink.notreal

Example of a Good Tweet

Apple releases the new iPad Mini http://boguslink.notreal via @MacRumors #Apple #iPad

Combining Creative and Technical Knowledge

by: Kenneth Cossin

I was thinking about the truly great people that I know or have known in my lifetime.  What makes them stand out in my mind?  What makes them special?  What makes them interesting?  Why do I wish to emulate them?  There is one common thread that each possesses — it is the unique ability to merge creativity with an analytical mind.

Technical Thinking

Let’s take a quick look at technical thinking.  In most cases, technical thinking involves some sort of predictable outcome.  When there are many possible answers, we draw on past experiences to structure how we think.  We create a logical flow in our minds, focus on the answers or what outcome we want to achieve, then seek the safest route to achieve our objective.

Creative Thinking

Looking at creative thinking, we see that there is a less ordered or focused approach.  Typically we think with our emotions, daydream, and even brainstorm ideas.  We are inspired by our creative thinking to do things that are unexpected and unpredictable.  It is very important to realize that we also demonstrate an attitude through our creative thinking, therefore, we need to focus on portraying a positive attitude.

People that can truly connect with both ways of thinking will typically find that they have richer lives.  They often employ the ideas featured in my post on “The Right-Brained Revolution” to solve everyday questions.  I find these individuals fascinating and quite wise, thus why I wish to emulate them.

Each of us has the ability to be both creative and analytical.  It depends on what we choose to exercise most.  I would love to challenge everyone to do both.  You just may be surprised by the results!

Who Cares about Near Field Communication?

by: Kenneth Cossin

In 2006, Nokia released the first mobile phone to have Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.  The thought behind initially including this technology was for ease of sharing information and content with other devices.

Near Field Communication

Photo: iPhone 5 Forum

As smartphones became popular in the market in 2008, developers of these devices started to think of new ways to use NFC.  The idea of using our smartphones as a way to store our credit card and banking information became the new concept.  Consumers could pay with their smartphones at any NFC terminal.

Although, Near Field Communication has seen a rough road for several reasons.  One is that merchants are wanting consumers to have the capability to use NFC for payment before investing in the technology for their businesses.  Consumers want merchants to offer payment methods like NFC at their locations.  Hardware developers are concerned about security, and major players such as Apple have shied away from adding this technology.  Therefore, traction for this technology is lagging… for now.

Apple is in the process of working out a plan for its own version of NFC.  While some may see this choice as a delay tactic or a way to control what is going on with NFC, I believe that Apple is being cautious.  Whether or not this path is the right one, I believe that mobile developers need to solidify mobile couponing and creating worth-while in-app deals and incentives before moving on to the next big thing.

Building Trust, Relationships, and Competence is Everything!

by: Kenneth Cossin

Have you ever worked for a company that did not focus on building trust, relationships, and competence?  If you have, it was probably one of the most unfulfilling jobs that you have ever had.  When it comes to strategic marketing, these three qualities are paramount.

Building Trust

Trust is simple to identify but very difficult to maintain.  The components of trust are truth, honesty, and openness.  We try to emulate these traits, but they are not always as easy to demonstrate as they are to say.  Complexities of business can hinder our truthfulness, honesty, and openness especially when it comes to communicating with our competitors.  We do not want to give away our trade secrets for obvious reasons, but trying to give away the water without giving away the baby is a good practice.  In general, people will appreciate our openness.

Building Relationships

Relationships are the key element of human interaction.  They help us to relate to one another, they help fortify our self-esteem, and they strengthen our customer loyalty.  Why do we do business with particular companies?  Typically it is because we have built a strong relationship with that business.  These relationships can help us not only grow on a personal level but also help us grow our business, our career, and our fulfillment in life.

Building Competence

Knowing how to solve issues and problems efficiently is part of success.  Therefore, when we continue to grow and learn, we continue to step out of our comfort zone, and we continue to see all points of view on different topics, we become more effective marketers.  Competence also fosters great relationships and trust.

In summary, each of these key points has to be part of our plan if we are to be successful and happy marketers.  Remember that each of these cannot exist without the other and that they are easy to forget when our days become hectic.  So, occasionally remind yourself of these points and fulfill your business, career, and life.

Great Idea to Help Build Your Blog Followers

by: Kenneth Cossin

We all love deals and incentives, and we especially love things that are free, right?  So, why not apply this simple concept to our blogs?

We write blog posts and create great content to our blogs in hopes that our readers will gain knowledge and insight from our hard work.  It is not easy coming up with new content, and many times when we start creating the content, we really aren’t sure how it will be recieved by our audience.

By putting forth a deal or incentive to have new followers or to keep your current followers, you can always create a deal or incentive, such as a contest, to entice audience members that land on your blog to not only read what you write but to sign up to follow your blog.

Thus, for all the new members that sign up for MY blog within the next five days of my post, I will enter your name into a random drawing to receive some Full Sail University swag!  Please follow the rules within the following form to enter.

Top 3 Social Media Outlets

by: Kenneth Cossin

What three social media outlets do you use most?  This question is answered differently for each person, but I believe that there are three that will come out on top.  They are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Google+ runs a distant 4th.

by spinsucks.com

In the world of marketing, the three aforementioned social media outlets are heavily used today.  Facebook is ingrained in our everyday lives, Twitter is a great way for business to reach and connect with other like-minded companies, and LinkedIn provides an avenue for individuals to share their personal knowledge with companies and to get discovered.  Therefore, these three social media tools provide the most exposure with minimal effort.

Just a few years ago, this list of social media outlets was different, and in the future, I am sure it will change again.  Maybe Google+ will move up in the rankings if Google can make their product more intuitive and user-friendly.  Other social media outlets, such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit may have potential, but they do not offer what these three top social media outlets do.  It will be interesting to see where social media takes us in the near future.

14 Ideas to Creating a Mind Map

by: Kenneth Cossin

For all the great thinkers in the world, we need a way to put into pictures the great ideas that our minds imagine.  Thus, the purpose of mind mapping.  Allow me to take a step back for a moment.

When we have ideas, we need to find a way to effectively convey, through words, the thoughts we have.  If we think about verbal and written language, we are quite limited.  But when we think about drawing or painting our thoughts, our minds wildly express our senses, emotions, and concepts.

Here is a list of 14 ideas I have regarding mind mapping:

Example Mind Map

1. Graphical Representation

Begin by drawing an image that represents your brain.  Be creative, because everyone views their own brain differently.  This picture will typically be something that demonstrates how you think.  We have two trains of thought – analytical and creative.  The left brain handles analytical thinking, and the right brain handles creative thinking.

2. Ideas

Draw lines out from either side of the picture of your brain to single words.  This process will allow you to analyze your thoughts, comprehend your feelings, and both synthesize and generate new ideas.   Be sure to determine whether the thoughts are analytical or creative, therefore, you put them on the correct side of the brain.

3. Color

Our brain does not think in black and white like the words on this blog post.  We think in colors.  Therefore, choose colors that represent certain feelings and emotions to you.  Color theory is an actual area of study, therefore, use the colors that mean something to you!

4. Represent

Be sure that you are being true to your brain.  Be honest with yourself regarding how your brain thinks.  For example, if you find that you’re just not the artistic type of person, then focus on drawing the left side first.  Create the right side as your creative mind kicks in.

5. Senses

Think about all five senses that we have: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste.  Certain senses are evoked when we encounter a physical or mental obstacle.  Imagine how you are going to overcome the obstacle by using these senses.

6. Linearity

By creating a mind map, understand that we are breaking or changing any linear thinking that we have.  For example, if you think that A leads to B, you may find out that you are wrong.  The problem is more complex than that.  Maybe A leads to J that leads to X that leads to B.  Not all solutions to a problem are solved with linear thinking.

7. Brainstorming

After beginning your mind map, you will find that you start thinking more about the solution to a problem than the actual problem itself.  Why, isn’t the solution to the problem what we ultimately wish to find?  For example, think back to a time that you encountered a problem and became obsessed with the problem.  Were you really thinking about an ultimate solution?

8. Planning

Mind mapping helps you with planning out a solution to a problem.  Therefore, for all the analytical individuals reading this blog post, know that mind mapping is not just an exercise in futility.  It is an opportunity for you to find real and concise solutions to your problems!

9. Studying

Since I work for education, I am an advocate for individuals to continually educate themselves.  Therefore, mind mapping is fluid; it is dynamic.  Therefore, we, as students of society, can continue to “study” the world around us and modify our actions and behaviors based upon predicted outcomes.

10. Memorization

I admit, I am not a person to memorize anything!  If you were to ask me to recite the alphabet, I would have to recall the song that goes along with the letters.  Mind mapping helps us with remembering what we need to do with respect to the big picture.  If, as a CEO of a company, you forget the big picture, you may be potentially creating the ultimate reality that you have been trying to avoid.

11. Re-imagining Creativity

Here is where I reach out to all the right-brained individuals.  By creating a mind map, you can continue to change and modify your creative mind.  In addition, you can build upon previous creative thought.  Thus, the ultimate in creating new creations!

12. Vision

Remember, as I mentioned earlier, that color theory is actually a field of study.  But remember that not all colors represent the same thing to you as the five senses of the next person.  For example, the color green may represent serenity and clam to me.  But the color green may represent anxiety in someone else.  Therefore, pick the colors that YOU find most representative of your feelings.

13. Clarity

Everyone loves clarity of thought.  Therefore, use the colors and words that best clarity your thought projections.  When developing a mind map, you never want to compromise the clarity of your thoughts especially when conveying those thoughts back to yourself.

14. Language

Lastly, do not limit yourself to the English language.  Just because you only know English does not mean that your mind does not think beyond the language that you speak.

In conclusion, I challenge you to create a mind map that incorporates both your analytical and creative thoughts into one image.  Remember that this image is your own.  It is YOUR mind map.  It is for your benefit.   Therefore, allow yourself to explore whatever “language” you wish.   As a reminder, do not forget that you want to create a graphical image of how your brain thinks.  As needed, make changes to your mind map and explore each and every creative and technical thought that you have.

Happy Mind Mapping!

The Right-Brained Revolution

by: Kenneth Cossin

Bring in the Industrial Revolution to the word, argued to have begun in the 17th or the 18th Centuries.  Loosely defined, the Industrial Revolution was a time when manual labor was being transformed into mechanically performed labor thus allowing easier production of goods.

Right Brain Function

Fast-forward to the 21st Century, and we begin to see the growth of, what I call, the “Right-brained Revolution.”  For all intents and purposes, the Right-brained Revolution (a.k.a. The Creative Mind) began with the advent of computer technology in the 1960s and 1970s.

Allow me to take a step back for a moment.  You may be asking yourself, “What about the left-brained individuals?”  I’m getting there!

Psychologists and counselors have developed many tools for us to determine which we use more, our right brain or our left brain.  One very interesting study is simply based upon answering a series of questions and then categorizing the answers into colors.  This test is called The Personality Color Types.

Gold and orange personalities dominate today’s world, and green and blue are very uncommon.  At this point I suggest you read about The Personality Color Types before continuing reading.

With the advent of the Industrial Age, we were forced to focus our minds on the qualities of gold and orange personalities.  Green and blue personalities did not serve as important of a purpose during this time.  I even believe that the gold and orange personalities played an integral part in the transformation of our world.

As we move into this new Era that I am calling The Right Brained Revolution, I am noticing that green and blue personalities are emerging as leaders.  “How can a creative mind be a leader?” you may ask.

It all comes down to the simplicity of creating complex projects.  Think about how easy it is to create whatever your mind can dream of on our computers simply by using the tools we have on our computers.  Crafting designs, creating music, developing Web sites, drawing, painting, creating games… these are all readily accessible to the right-brained, blue and green thinkers.

Thus, why I foresee a new Era called “The Right-brained Revolution” on the world’s horizon.