Tips To Welcome The New School Year

The end of summers brings a an end to the fun-filled holiday season and its time to welcome another new school year.
Preparing for school after the break is a challenge not only for the kids, but for the parents as well.

Bundles of projects and homework sheets are all you can see towards the end of the vacations and the new days bring tough schedules and activities for the family.

Here are some tips that will help you prepare your child and yourself for the upcoming days and make them a fun-filled and joyful experience.

Modify The Family Routine To School Schedule

Rather than letting a sudden change of time come into the sleep cycles of the family, its better to gradually make them comfortable with the school year schedules few days prior to the first day of school.

To do that, set up a new bedtime routine and wake up the kids a little earlier than usual. Everyday make them rise earlier than the previous day, gradually bringing the morning cycles close to the timings of the school days.

Also, school brings changes in the meal timings for the children. To accustom them with the changed meal routine, prepare the meals and some snacks for the school lunch hour.

Set Up A Calendar Corner

School brings along so many changes in the schedules and a bundle of calendar entries for everyone that includes meal menus, event dates, meetings, classes and functions. Keeping a track of all of them sometimes becomes really hard.

To introduce some each into this huge pile of calendar entries, set up a Calendar Corner at home. Place everything on the calendar corner and make it work like family calendar with detailed schedule informations.

Select a particular type of calendar pattern that suits you and manager it in a creative manner. You can use white board calendars that come printed beforehand or you can use paper calendars with enough room to add points whenever required. Use different colours for particular kind of entries.

Set up everything on your calendar corner at some regularly visible and accessible point of your house. For example, the kitchen or just place it like a wall chart in the living room. Keep adding any new schedules or activities to your calendar corner and manage accordingly.

Collect All The Documents

Going back to school for readmissions requires a pile of documentations including medical test records, birth certificates, marksheets of the previous year, report sheets, registrations and a number of necessary papers.

To avoid the hassle searching for the documents on the last day of holidays and make it a stress free session, keep yourself prepared with all the necessary papers beforehand.

You can refer the school website or can have a word with the school administration to make yourself aware of all the required stuff and arrange it accordingly.

Work Out To Reduce The Morning Hustle

School mornings are full of chaos and are accompanied by a hustle. Getting rid of the same and bringing in joy into the morning is definitely a happy beginning to the day.

Finishing such morning chores that can be completed in the previous evening will surely lighten the mood and pressure. This includes packing up the bags, getting the dresses ready, organising the homework and books as well as setting up the breakfast table.

Pre-Plan The Shopping

When its time for school, the stores are full of back to school stuff and clothings for the kids with various sales and discount offers to meet all your needs and fit in your budget.

Take out time to sit with your child and make a list of all the clothing they need. A little reorganisation of the closet and the garments will definitely reduce your troubles in the early morning while getting ready for school.

Its always better to discuss the shopping budget with your child beforehand only. This makes them understand your point of views and also avoids any mood outbursts in the store.

Prepare a list of all the things they need and you can take an advice from the school teachers for the needed supplies. August is the best time to engage in some back to school shopping.

Reorganize The Household Lifestyle

The school season definitely speeds up the routine and makes the family life quicker as it brings along a number of commitments for the children as well as for the parents. There is a series of sports activities, art lessons, music classes, events and programs that also require a substantial amount of time to be devoted by the parents.

The need of the hour is to smarten up the schedule and the family lifestyle to match up with the upcoming busy timetable and meet all the commitments efficiently.

Speed up the household cleaning time and you will have some extra time to help your kids with the assignments, homeworks and preparations for events and competitions.

The amount of time you spend in the kitchen and preparing fun snacks for your kids in the holiday season has to be cut down. Simplify your work with the help of a new meal plan that suits your changed schedules and fits in with everyone’s requirements just perfectly.

Take a Mock Run

When the school days are about to come, take a mock run to the school with your child.

If the school is nearby and it takes a walk to reach it, try practising it once or twice with your child so that they do not face trouble reaching there and are well aware of the route when they travel by themselves later on.

Usually it happens in the beginning of the school days that children miss their buses, to avoid this make them well aware of the bus timings as well as the locations of the bus stands and the duration it takes to reach the stop perfect on time.

Getting stuck in the traffic and eventually getting late is a common phenomenon too, all you need is practice the route and take a note how much time it takes to match up with the morning traffic and make it just on time.

Have a happy School Time!!

What We’ve Learned About Naples Real Estate Since Relocating…

new houseAs most of you know, we recently packed up and moved south to Naples, Florida. That means that several of our staff members have had to take the plunge and purchase new homes. I, for one, was one of the first to take the plunge, and in dealing with real estate agents and various home owner associations I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit about the area and how the real estate market works.

What I discovered in my many discussions with my agent is that the Naples real estate market has exploded lately. The sub-tropical climate of Southwest Florida has made it a prime spot for snowbirds from many Northern states to flock to Naples and neighboring areas. With some of the most luxurious and affordable real estate in Southwest Florida, Naples is a no-brainer for 2nd home buyers and local home-buyers alike to invest in real estate.

Recently, Naples home prices have gone back to levels that have not been seen in over a decade. Naples offers a vast array of real estate prices, in pretty much all categories of homes. Homes in Naples vary by location, property types, amenities and size. Choices for new home-buyers could be beach property, golf communities, boating communities, or condos with lots of amenities. There are also plenty of estate properties with decent acreage for those who enjoy maximum privacy.

Some communities here in Naples consist primarily of second home owners, while other areas are more geared toward the local workforce. Typically, real estate in these neighborhoods are the most affordable but lack the amenities of the more affluent properties.

Most second-home buyers would prefer to be closer to the Beaches of Naples, Olde Naples, or just be closer to the city. Many would prefer to be in communities that have lots of amenities, such as one of the many country club or tennis communities. As with most Florida real estate, proximity to the beach and amenities play a major factor in pricing.

A New Move… Naples, Anyone?

That’s right, we’ve relocated to Southwest Florida – primarily in Naples. What can we say? We love the weather here, and the beaches and palm trees don’t hurt our feelings at all either. If you need to find us, we’re located just off of Immokalee Rd., just past The Quarry real estate and the Peace Lutheran Church. Here’s a map to help you find us if you need to:


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Users Searching for Love and RSS

If Google were only around when I was younger. It would have saved me a lot of heart-ache. Google could have told me the meaning of love. According to the lastest 2008 Google Zeitgerist report people turned to Google in 2008 to find out what love is.
However, the real excitement in the report is the fifth most searched “what is” question – “What is RSS?”
Top “What Is” questions according to Google.
1. what is love
2. what is life
3. what is java
4. what is sap
5. what is rss
6. what is scientology
7. what is autism
8. what is lupus
9. what is 3g
10. what is art
More people want to know about RSS than scientology? You have to love that if you are an RSS junkie. Think about all the “what is” questions one could ask Google and RSS is number 5!
This does make sense. A Razorfish study revealed RSS grew 153% in the first half of 2008. This also maps well to the subscriber growth our publishers are seeing in their RSS feeds.
Look for continuing growth in the use of RSS in 2009 as more and more consumers turn to content-on-the-go as the way to stay connected to the content they love.

Ten Steps to Save a Newspaper

Dear Mr. Newspaper Editor,
I have been studing the demise of the newspaper for some time. It is more of an interest then anything else. My degree is in Journalism (by the looks of this blog, I could use a refresher course) so it has a soft spot in my heart.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and talking about the death of the newspaper, I want to talk about how to save it. I am offering you my passion for good journalism and my experience as an entrepreneur. I worked in newsroom and ran a small paper for a few years so I speak with a bit of knowledge on the subject.
Over the past years, I have been reading the opinions of all the greats – Jeff Jarvis, Alan Mutter, Jay Rosen, etc. They are the experts. They are attempting to make a difference and offer their thoughts on saving the newspaper. You can read their blogs. Too good to paraphrase here.
On to solving the problem of print. First, admit it, the actual print paper is declining in circulation. Nothing wrong with that. We don’t drive horse and buggy today. Why? Henry Ford gave us a better way of getting around. Don’t look at the decline in your print circulation as a problem. Look at it as an opportunity. The paper isn’t going away because your journalism is bad, the paper is going away because we found a better way to consume your content. Let your ego and fears go. Your print addition is a horse and buggy. The car is the future.
I know what you are thinking, “But, Bill, we generate the most revenue from our newspapers.” For how long? Is it a dyeing asset or growing one? Your strongest asset is your skilled writers no matter the medium where they write (paper, phone, internet, on a napkin.) Cultivate your strongest asset. Funnel their passions.
Ten ideas to save the newspaper (no particular order)
1. Think locally! If you are local paper, STOP covering World news. This is not your sweet spot. I want to know about the local sports team, 4H, or how the local economy is suffering from the global mess we are in. Your customers of tomorrow know how to find national and World news elsewhere. They are aggregating content from multiple sources.
2. Set your content free. The future is syndication and aggregation. I don’t know if the Huffington Post has the right model of the future of the news as Michael Hirschorn points out but I can tell you one thing from my vantage point, content is becoming mobile, untethered from the website. Your future customers are mashing, widgeting, twittering and friendfiending your content.
3. Think like a database marketing company. Your online revenue model should be focused on helping the local merchant generate leads. Are you helping him capture leads? You are not in the advertising business you are in the lead generation business. Create a database of your customers. Mine their attention data. You know what they read. You know what they like. Help your local merchant succeed. You are in the best position to succeed at local advertising. There have been many failed attempts at local advertising online with few success. You have a sales person in every county, city, and town in the US. You have the potential to beat Google in this market. Even they cannot be everywhere. Stake your position before it is too late. Create a place where local merchants can create a profile on your site. Become THE local source for special offers, announcements, coupons from the local community.
4. Outsource, outsource, outsource. You are in the business of creating great content. You are not a technology company. Just because you are on the Internet doesn’t mean you are a technology company. Keep your writers writing.
5. Digitize your content. Your future customers are getting their news online. They are blogging, friendfeeding, widgetizing, twittering, feeding your content (if you don’t know what the means, learn quickly.) How are you embracing the real-time web? Study the new media landscape and NOW!
6. Embrace your customers. Publishing is in real-time now. It is getting more competitive to break news even in your local market. Now that we all have phones with cameras or video we can shoot, write and post in real-time. You have to think about writing differently. You will need to create a balance between shorter stories published more often and in-depth investigative stories. Be know for quality journalism first and foremost. Engage with your customers too. Create a place for them within your content. Have them submit news under your brand. Yes, this is a risk and they are not trained like a journalist. Use them as a source of real-time news and have your trained professionals follow-up. Hold regular meet-ups at your office with your customers. Ask them what they want, ask them to volunteer, train them for what to look for.
7. Hire the right people. This is a big one. Look across your organization. Are you bringing in young professionals who grew up with texting, Facebook/Myspace, digital music etc? Do you have the right ratio of young and experience based on your future business and revenue status? Is anyone on your editor staff using Twitter? You need to start building products for your future customers. Simple business principle.
8. Aggregate. Aggregate content from bloggers writing about the local market. Find out who they are and embrace them. Most would be delighted to have their content appear under your brand. Ask them to add geo tags to their posts to make it easier to find their content so you can aggregate it.
9. Partner. Do you have business development person in house? Your business is writing and distribution but think like a business that creates a product or service. You are not an island. What is our online distribution model? How are you embracing local merchants? What about coffee shops? People go there everyday to read the news – great place to hold a meet-up. Is there a penny saver in your community? Are you working together. What about online coupon sites? How are you working with them? What about online classified sites? Are you THE resource for them in the local market?
10. Network. Spend a hour or two ever week at the local hang-out. You will be surprised what you might learn from the locals talking about the news, the weather or whatever. Are you holding regular networking events at your office with local business people? Why not?
Remove your fear and anxiety. Print is going away. That is ok. The paper is NOT your strongest asset. Your journalist are.
And while we are on the subject, maybe we should drop “paper” from your name. Report on the news no matter what medium carries it.
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Let’s stop talking about the death of the newspaper. That is so easy. Let’s collectively think how we can save a profession. We need great journalism. We need investigating reporting. What are your thoughts?

Now Hiring – Account Manager

Start the new year off with a new job at Pheedo.

To fuel our tremendous growth, Pheedo is looking for an experienced account manager for our search feed product. The qualified candidate in this newly created position will be responsible for managing Pheedo’s premium PPC ad inventory (accessible via XML feeds). You will report to the Director of Publisher Relations and Client Services, with a dotted-line relationship to executives within the company.
Join one of the fastest growing, profitable, new media companies in Old Town Oakland, CA: Pheedo, Inc combines world-class RSS analytics with one-of-kind monetization tools for the real-time web. Since 2005, we have been helping premium publishers including The New York Times, CNET, MSNBC, ABC, PCWorld and more successfully deliver billions of pieces of online content monthly to over 40 million subscribers.
SUMMARY: ACCOUNT MANAGER – SEARCH FEED PRODUCT
Fully manage the internal and external execution of our search feed product. Responsible for search feed yield optimization and revenue analysis for the Pheedo network. Serve as a primary point of contact for our search feed partners, scheduling of A/B tests on ad units/placements and search feed monetization strategies.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Own reporting and analysis of search feed traffic, revenue, and product performance using both internal and external data.
  • Master understanding of business rules and logic for displaying search feed listings in RSS feeds; Responsible for ongoing analysis of business rules and strategy for optimizing revenue.
  • Stay on top of trends in search advertising and in search product development.
  • Manage cross-functional projects for enhancements and product releases. Own product modeling (testing, analysis), writing business cases and product requirements documents, and prioritizing project list and product release schedule.
  • Manage relationship with 3rd party search feed listings providers, analyzing metrics and recommending methods for relevance and revenue enhancements. Manage process of recruiting new search feed partners. Understand performance implications on scores, recommending tests and modifications to help enhance scores.
  • Serve as team contact with Finance for revenue forecasting and yield analysis. Stay on top of traffic and revenue trends for weekly, monthly, and quarterly reporting to finance.

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE

  • 2 -3 years experience with pay per click advertising & search engine marketing, with emphasis on analytics.
  • Web savvy individual with a good understanding of PPC feed syndication, search marketing and a thorough working knowledge of feed management.
  • This position requires hands-on experience analyzing website and other data to drive tactical marketing decision making.
  • Highly comfortable with Google Adwords, Nami Media, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN AdCenter.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Strong familiarity with advanced Excel and PowerPoint.
  • Strength in developing, delivering and analyzing top level and detailed metric reports that provides meaningful insight and can be easily digested by the entire organization.
  • Experience interacting and communicating with engineering, sales and finance.
  • Strong math skills and comfort level with data manipulation and analysis a must.
  • PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
  • Strong problem solving and ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines; ability to multi-task and prioritize projects.
  • Exceptional writing, communication, and presentation skills a must.
  • Team player and ability to coordinate cross-functional efforts and communications on a daily basis.
  • Self motivated leader and motivator who delivers results with minimal supervision.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to translate metrics into actionable proposals.
  • Talent in strongly aligning an organizations role/purpose with a company’s mission and vision.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills at all levels.

WHAT WE OFFER

  • Competitive base and commission based on results.
  • Generous benefits package.
  • Accessible and open-minded leadership.
  • Opportunity to work with smart people and learn a lot about one of the fastest growing industries.