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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities 193 at Catymology



The 193rd edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at Aloysious Katz' cat blog known as Catymology.


Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, and cats.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My post is titled "Books and knowledge: Invest in yourself" where I discuss how the word investing usually conjures up visions of high finance, stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodity trading. While those are all important financial investments, and should form your current account and retirement portfolio, there are other forms of investment as well. One of those is investing in yourself.




To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.





Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at the personal finance blog known as Punny Money

In the meantime, head on over to the Catymology hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Conversations with experts: Brian Clark - Free teleseminar







Conversations with Experts: How to Build Your Business On and Off-line

Hosted by Denise Wakeman and Patsi Krakoff of Build a Better Blog System.

How Copywriting Skills Bring Both Traffic and Sales

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 8:30 p.m. ET (no charge, registration required)

Guest Expert: Brian Clark, Copyblogger

Why all the fuss about business blogging? Unlike the static websites of the early web, a business blog is a dynamic web presence that attracts new prospects, establishes a relationship with them, and allows them to effortlessly become a client or customer.

A blog is a lead generation and customer relationship management tool all in one, but only if you tell a story that matters to your target market.

Copywriting is the art of selling with words and getting people to take action --whether your goal is publicity or a sale --and it's the secret to achieving your Internet marketing goals.

Brian Clark is a serial entrepreneur who makes his living from the Internet and the written word, thanks to his knowledge of copywriting and direct marketing. Because Brian is not a copywriter for hire, he literally bets his own money on his writing every day, and he is sold on the benefits of blogging for business. As a former attorney, Brian has been in the persuasion business his entire professional life, but enjoys going to work a whole lot more these days.

Register for this conversation with Brian Clark:

ConversationsWithExperts.com


If you missed any Conversations With Experts, you can become a monthly member of a private blog. As a member, you gain access to the entire Conversation With Experts audio series of guest experts, past and present.

Conversations with Experts is sponsored by Build a Better Blog System.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at Working Solo



This week sees a Down Under style approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Leah Mclean's business, technology, and entrepreneurial blog known as Working Solo.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from Working Solo there are many discussions of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and technology.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post is titled "Independent business planning: Gardening" where I discuss how vegetable gardens are not likely the first thing that springs to mind when you think of planning your independent business. The pastoral image of potatoes and corn growing in the backyard seems rather remote from the highly competitive world of trade and commerce. In fact, gardening has more in common with business than what appears at first glance.


If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at the team intellectual property legal blog (or blawg, if you prefer) known as Rethink (IP).

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the Working Solo hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer some ideas on adding a Down Under entrepreneurial style to your business. (groan)

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Books and Knowledge: Invest in yourself Part 2



Buying books on any and all subjects is one of the best ways to enhance your existing knowledge level. It's also one of the most enjoyable. After all, reading is a pleasureable pasttime, and makes learning new ideas interesting and fun.

We have already examined several ways and places to purchase used books in "Books and Knowledge: Invest in yourself Part 1". Today, we'll look at buying new books for your personal or business library.

Brand new books can either be purchased online via the internet; or offline at various chain or independent bookstores. The volume of titles offered in each case varies widely, and so does the quality on offer.

Online, most people are familiar with online giants like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Their selction is virtually inlimited and many reviews of available titles are right there at the click of a mouse.

A quick Google search of online book stores will turn up hundreds of other options for internet book shopping. You can easily spend hours searching the various book sellers, especially if you are seeking hard to find titles.




For business book specialty shoppers, I recommend 800-CEO-READ and their 800-CEO-READ blog. As a disclaimer, I have written a few book reviews for their blog, and will have more reviews appearing there in the near future. That said, the staff are friendly and helpful and offer an important service to authors and readers of specialized business books.

Offline, you can buy books at the many bookstore chains and discount centres. Be sure to look at their sale and remainder tables, and sift through those heavily marked down volumes. Some real bargains can often be picked up in that way. As always, the large stores have a huge selection and cover an unlimited number of subject areas. Spend a day wandering through their shelves and you are almost certain to find a book that will increase your knowledge.

Independent bookstores are one of my favourite places to shop. Operated by a person who knows and loves books, the owner and staff are almost unlimited in their importance as a source of information. They can tell you of upcoming releases and take special orders. As the book shop owners get to know you personally, they can find you titles at prices equal to or better than anyone else. They also enjoy talking about books and sharing knowledge, and that can often be the most powerful mind building exercise you can ever find.



Often overlooked sources of very specialized and academic level books are the bookstores at the various universities, colleges, community colleges, and junior colleges. Very often, the textbooks for those expensive and specialized courses are available; and for a fraction of the tuition price. While there is no real substitute for the advice and assistance of the college level teaching staff, the various textbooks can enhance and deepen your current understanding of a topic. College bookstores have titles that literally can't be found anywhere else, without some intensive searching on the part of the buyer. Take a tour of your local university campus bookstore and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the knowledge available for purchase.

Books are a pleasure and a treasure. They provide endless hours of enjoyment and personal enrichment. There is also a sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with owning your a personal reference library. It's always available, and it's never closed. You don't have to worry about overdue book fines or finding a parking space either.

Build your own home and office libraries through purchasing new books and buying used books. You always be glad that you did.

Start buying and reading those books today and watch your level of personal and professional knowledge grow beyond your wildest dreams.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

 

Used book sales: Buying knowledge



As I alluded to yesterday, I like to attend used book sales. I attend many of them, as a matter of fact, and today was no different. The local public library was selling some books and I was there with purchases in mind. After all, I wouldn't want to attend an event like that and not buy something.

In fact, I bought a large stack of books. Make that three boxes full of volumes for reading and for study. Of course, they weren't all for me. I bought about a dozen or so crafts books for my Mom. They ranged from knitting and sewing to heraldic coats of arms. I got my brother some science and woodworking books for his handy work enjoyment.



Among the books were history, geography, politics, some classic novels; and a large number of business books. I targeted that section heavily, and was well rewarded for my efforts. To list all of the purchased volumes here would be impossible, but needless to say, I was happy with my day's haul.

I recommend buying both new and used books to all of my readers. Today, I simply followed my own advice, and contributed heavily to my own personal home library. the book sale timing worked well in conjuntion with my current series on purchasing books, both new and used.

Now, I just have to get around to doing some heavy reading. If the weight of the book boxes is any measure of the reading quality, some real knowledge definitely followed me home.

I'll keep you informed on my reading progress, and I might even post some book reviews of some of the newer better known books. I do have some reviews of some new books scheduled for the near future as well. You won't want to miss them, as there are a few very high quality titles under consideration.

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Books and Knowledge: Invest in yourself Part 1



The word investing usually conjures up visions of high finance, stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodity trading. While those are all important financial investments, and should form your current account and retirement portfolio, there are other forms of investment as well. One of those is investing in yourself.

While other financial investments have periods of rising bull markets or falling bear markets, personal improvement doesn't go through business cycles. In fact, the value of investing in oneself only increases in value over a person's lifetime. The more you learn in your areas of interest, and the more general knowledge you gain in other areas, the more successful you will become. Knowledge is power, and the road to achieving your personal and business goals.

One time tested way to enhance your personal knowledge is to purchase books and build a personal library. While there are indeed many other methods of adding to your store of knowledge, we'll concentrate on books today.

There are two ways to buy books. One method is to buy brand new books. The other technique is to purchase used books. I recommend both ideas as a means of developing a personal knowledge reference library. Both new and used books have their advantages and disadvantages, just like anything else. A good home library will consist of books purchased through several different venues.



Buying used books

Several sources of used books are available on a very regular basis. One place to buy used books is a store that specializes in buying and selling secondhand volumes. Very often, some rare or hard to locate editions will appear in used book shops, helping to fill out your collection with a very valuable item. As an added bonus, the book can be read and its wisdom absorbed. Get to know several used book dealers as they can be an important source of assistance in locating hard to find books, and be willing to negotiate a better price for you. They will also be more than willing to purchase or exchange books with people whom they know as well.

Another couple of great places to buy used books are the lowly garage sale amd the flea market. Many times, some very good books, especially business and general knowledge books, are available at very low prices. We are talking under one dollar per book here, with room to negotiate the price even lower if you are volume purchaser. The problem with the yard sale or the flea market is many boxes of less than desirable books have to be sorted through prior to finding your nugget of literary gold.



Public libraries often hold public sales of books no longer required in the library stacks. Since many of the library holdings are hard to get anywhere else, it's advisable to attend one of their sales. Be sure to arrive at the opening of the selling to get best selection, and to purchase those difficult to source editions. At the same time, be sure to attend the very last couple of hours on the final day of the sale. Very often, unsold books will be remaindered to the public in bulk at very low prices. Overlooked or volumes just outside of your main target areas will be offered at almost giveaway prices as the staff doesn't want to remove the excess stock.

Pre-owned books can also be purchased online through dealers, online flea markets, eBay and Amazon.com.

Careful searching of various sources of used books will enhance your growing library. Books increase your knowledge of your subject area, as well as enhance your information level, on other topics outside your usual knowledge boundaries.

Next in Books and Kowledge: Invest in yourself Part 2:

Buying new books

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Friday, May 26, 2006

 

Net Neutrality scores victory for Internet Freedom



The Net Neutrality Coalition scored a victory for freedom on the internet, on May 25 in Washington, DC, as a House Judiciary Bill passed to protect internet users from discriminatory practices. H.R. 5417, the “Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006”, was introduced last week by F. James Sensenbrenner (pictured left), Chairman of the Committee, and John Conyers Jr., Ranking Member of the Committee.

The Bill passed by a vote margin of 20 - 13.





Thanks to the hard work of this orgainzation, and my friend, blogger Andy Wibbels (shown left), who appeared as an expert witness, this threat to the internet has been stopped for now. As always, we must remain on watch in the event another possible danger to internet freedom should arise.


Below is a statement from the Net Neutrality Coalition about today’s House Judiciary Bill just passed 20-13.

For interviews or questions, contact:

Catherine Castro

Qorvis Communications, on behalf of Net Neutrality

Direct: (703) 744-7839 / Cell: (202) 230-2200



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 25, 2006

NET NEUTRALITY COALITION APPLAUDS HOUSE JUDICIARY BILL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 25, 2006 – The House Committee on the Judiciary today passed legislation to protect Internet consumers against discrimination on the Internet. H.R. 5417, the “Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006”, was introduced last week by F. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the Committee, and John Conyers Jr., Ranking Member of the Committee.

The following statement may be attributed to the ItsYourNet coalition, a broad and diverse coalition of Internet companies including Amazon.com, eBay, Google, IAC/InterActiveCorp and Yahoo! as well as consumer groups, small business organizations, trade associations, innovators and entrepreneurs, public interest organizations, individual content creators, family and religious groups and others, all fighting to preserve and protect the open Internet:

“Today is a great day for the Internet. Today, the U.S House of Representatives' Committee on Judiciary passed H.R. 5417, "The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006", which ensures that the Internet will continue as a vital force for innovation and economic benefit for all Americans. This bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner and Ranking Member John Conyers, recognizes the importance of meaningful and enforceable Net Neutrality legislation that will protect the rights of millions of Internet users. As the name of this legislation underscores, Congress has a duty to protect the longstanding and fundamental laws that govern the Internet and protect all of its users against discriminatory practices. We are grateful that the Judiciary Committee has ensured that our nation's communications policies preserve the open Internet, and on behalf of our millions of users and communities, we thank Chairman Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member Conyers, and all of the Members of the Committee on the Judiciary on this most important achievement.”

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

 

Network Neutrality: Blogger fights for Online Freedom


Online business is in danger as large corporations attempt to stack the internet deck against small independent business. In the difficult fight for Nwetwork Neutrality, some large companies including Google and Yahoo are supporting internet freedom.

My friend blogger Andy Wibbels (photo left) is one of the leaders from the business blogging community in this battle for what is called the First Amendment of the Internet.

The issue:

What is this about?

This is about Internet freedom. "Network Neutrality" -- the First Amendment of the Internet -- ensures that the public can view the smallest blog just as easily as the largest corporate Web site by preventing Internet companies like AT&T from rigging the playing field for only the highest-paying sites.

But Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending millions of dollars lobbying Congress to gut Net Neutrality. If Congress doesn't take action now to implement meaningful network neutrality provisions, the future of the Internet is at risk.

What is network neutrality?

Network Neutrality — or "Net Neutrality" for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. With Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.

Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It's why the Internet has become an unrivaled environment for open communications, civic involvement and free speech.


Andy Wibbels is doing his part, speaking as an expert witness on behalf of bloggers and independent online business, in this important battle for internet freedom. He will be speaking to the United States Congress tomorrow (May 25) and needs our help.

He says in an e-mail sent to his subscriber list:

Tomorrow, I'm going to be interviewing an industry expert on net
neutrality for small businesses online - as well as the impact of impending
legislation to create a 'tiered' internet. I want to be sure I get all
our questions answered.

*What is your biggest question about net neutrality?*


Here is how you can call your United States Congressperson and get your voice heard:

From Save The Internet:


Call Congress about Internet Freedom

On April 26, a congressional committee caved to pressure from AT&T and Verizon and voted for a bill that would allow large telephone and cable companies to control what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.

This betrayal sparked a public revolt. More than 700,000 people have sent protest letters to Congress. Thousands more are calling their elected represenatatives to demand that they take a stand for Internet freedom. Because of the intense heat, some members of Congress are switching from AT&T's side to ours. The House will vote soon on whether to preserve Internet freedom; a Senate vote will follow shortly after. Every elected member of Congress needs to take a stand on Internet freedom.


Simply go to Save The Internet and enter your zip code and tell your Member of Congress that you want the legislation stopped. Now.

Do your part and join with other bloggers, internet business people, journalists and many major corporations, as well as independent business people in this very important battle.

Catherine Castro of Qorvis Communications is circulating the following e-mail, showing the support of many important companies opposed to the bill, to The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary in an attempt to gain his support in stopping this dangerous legislation. The businesses opposed the bill reads like a who's who of the internet community.

Letter to Chairman Sensenbrenner from Net Neutrality supporters…



Catherine Castro

Qorvis Communications

Direct: (703) 744-7839 / Cell: (202) 230-2200

May 24, 2006

The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary

United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Sensenbrenner:

We would like to thank you, Ranking Member Conyers, and the Members of the Judiciary Committee for your recognition of the importance of Net Neutrality for the protection of American consumers, competition and our global competitiveness. H.R. 5417, “The Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006” addresses the need for meaningful and enforceable Net Neutrality legislation to ensure that the Internet continues as a vital force of innovation and economic benefit for all Americans.

We are a broad and diverse group of Internet companies, public interest organizations, innovators and entrepreneurs, trade associations, consumer groups, individual content providers, and family groups who make our livelihoods on the Internet and depend on its open architecture to innovate, create and evolve the Internet for the future. We strongly believe that your Committee has a clear obligation to protect the original and fundamental laws that govern the Internet. These principles, embodied in the historic legal framework that today is known as Net Neutrality, have been present from the Internet’s inception, and have benefited all of us until very recently when the Federal Communications Commission acted to eliminate them for the first time in the Internet’s history. As a result, Congress must act to reinstate this framework to prevent discriminatory behavior on the Internet, maintain consumer safeguards against monopolistic practices and preserve an innovative spirit of competition that has kept America as the leader in the global marketplace.

We greatly appreciate the Committee’s actions in the interests of the millions of Internet users who depend upon the open Internet. The Committee has played a long, historical role in ensuring that our nation’s communications policies preserve the competitive telecommunications landscape and we hope that legacy will continue as Congress protects the Internet with meaningful Net Neutrality legislation.

Sincerely,

Acopia Networks

Adaptive Marketing LLC

Adobe

Advancedmultimedia.com

Aegon Direct Marketing Services, Inc.

Airespring

Amazon.com

American Association of Libraries

AnalogZone

AngleBeds.com

Ask.com

Association of Research Libraries

Awow Communications

Bandwidth.com

Bloglines

Borsetti & Co.

Business Software Alliance

CALTEL

Cendant

Chemistry.com

Christian Coalition

CinemaNow

Circumedia LLC

CitySearch

CommPartners Holding Company

COMPTEL

Comunicano, Inc.

Consumer Federation of America

Consumers Union

Corliant

Cornerstone Brands, Inc.

Dagdamor Media

Data Foundry

Dave Pettito Direct

DiMA

Domania

Downstream

Dreamsleep.com

Dresses.com

EarthLink

eBay

eBrands Commerce Group

Economics & Technology, Inc.

Educause

Elaine P. Dine

Electronic Retailing Association

Entertainment Publications

Evite.com

Excite

Expedia

Free Press

Free World Dialup

GetSmart

Gifts.com

Google

GotVoice, Inc.

Graceline Canada

Hawthorne Direct

Home Shopping Network

Hotels.com

Hotwire

HSE24

IAC/InterActiveCorp

Iceland Health Inc.

iFreedom Communications

iNest

InPulse Response

INS

Intel

Interactive Travel Services Association

InterMetro

Internet2

Interval International

Intervox.com

IntraISP

Invens Capital

Isen.com, LLC

IVR Technologies

iWon

J. Arnold & Associates

JohnnyZip

Lafayette Group, Inc.

LendingTree

Lingo, Inc.

Listyourself.net

Livemercial

Match.com

McFadden Associates

MCM Telecom

Media Access Project

Media Partners Worldwide

Mercury Media

Merrick Group

Microcom

Miller & Van Eaton

National Retail Federation

Nationalblinds.com

NetCoalition

Objectworld

Pac-West

PointOne

PRC

Primus Telecommunications

Product Partners LLC

Public Knowledge

Pulver.com

RealEstate.com

ReserveAmerica

Rifftone.com

S & B Technical Products

Savatar

Savvier

ServiceMagic

Shelcomm

Shoebuy.com

Skype

Sling Media Inc.

SOHOlutions

Sonus Capital Management

Sony Electronics Inc.

SunRocket

Symantec

Symercy Financial Corp.

Techviser

Telekom Austria

Telephia

TELLO

Ticketmaster

Tier1Research

TiVO

TNS

Tonystickets.com

Tranquilitymattress.com

Travelocity

udate.com

VI Technologies

Vivox

WCW Networks

Yahoo!



Keep the internet as a level playing field of free speech and free competitive enterprise.

Go to Save The Internet and enter your zip code, Tell your Member of Congress, in no uncertain terms, that you want the legislation stopped now.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities at Blog D'Ellison



The 192nd edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at Ellison's political, humor, and family blog known as Blog D'Ellison

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.



This week's Ellison hosted (photo of Ellison as Mr. Debonair left) Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, and satire.


















I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My post is titled "Sharing information: Don't hoard your knowledge" where I discuss how information and knowledge are meant to be shared with others. By helping people succeed and achieve their goals, we contribute to all of society in general, and to the individual in particular. By sharing what we know, everyone wins.



To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.





Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at Aloysious Katz' cat blog known as Catymology.

In the meantime, head on over to the Blog D'Ellison hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at The Integrative Stream



This week sees a pondering perspective approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Will Crawford's technology, economics, and business blog known as The Integrative Stream.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.

As you would expect from The Integrative Stream, there are many discussions of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and developing blog and business philosophy.

It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post is titled "Business ethics: Change the world" where I discuss the good news that you can do something about the bad reputation inflicted on honest business people by a few scoundrels. You can operate your business from startup to retirement on ethical principles. Honest and open business practices can and should be how you run your company. In fact, I am positive in my conviction that honesty is the best policy. In the long run, nice guys finish first.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Leah Mclean's business and entrepreneurial blog known as Working Solo.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the The Integrative Stream hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer some ideas to get an integrative stream to some new and deep ideas. (groan)

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

 

Independent business planning: Gardening



Vegetable gardens are not likely the first thing that springs to mind when you think of planning your independent business. The pastoral image of potatoes and corn growing in the backyard seems rather remote from the highly competitive world of trade and commerce. In fact, gardening has more in common with business than what appears at first glance.

As I was planting my garden this spring, I was thinking of how gardens and gardenong relate to business and entrepreneurship. Obvious at first, of course, are the many greenhouse, nursery, bedding plant, and vegetable sales tables at the local Farmers' Market. The garden producer and their suppliers are big businesses in and of themselves.

Turning that unused acreage behind your house into a commercial market garden or truck farm combines the power of business with the garden itself. As we shall see, you don't have to be a market gardener to recognize the similar patterns of business and gardens. That said, I would recommend market gardening as a wonderful and healthy sideline business for you to start in your spare time.



Before one opens their new entrepreneurial venture, a business plan is required. Financing, marketing, sourcing of inputs, production, and personnel are just a few of the required areas of a powerful business and marketing plan. Gardens require a similar plan.

You must decide where each vegetable will be planted and the amount of space allotted to each type of plant. This is especially important if your garden space is small and cramped. Too much corn planted and there will be no room for potatoes. Too many space hogging cucumbers and pumpkins, and your garden will be over booked for available space, like a hotel on New Year's Eve.

Crop rotation and soil enrichment must be planned, often several years in advance. To combat plant diseases and lowered fertility, plants must be rotated to different locations within the garden. Last year's pea or bean patch works well for this year's heavy nutrient using corn crop. Compost or commercial fertilizers must be applied. Insects must be controlled. Water is an absolute necessity. As with a small business, the garden has its essential input requirements.



The garden must be kept weeded all summer long, and guarded against pests with leg totals varying from two, to four, to six, to countless. Plants must be watched for signs of disease. If you have ever had your peas or bean plants mould, or something bad occur on your potatoes or corn, you know that the entire crop can be lost. As with watching the day to day activities of your company, the garden requires constant vigilence as well.

When the garden plants mature, and the vegetables are ready for harvest, care must be taken with their picking, and with any storage requirements. Potatoes, large onions, carrots, and turnips are often stored dry for winter. Other vegetables are frozen or canned for preservation. Care must be taken to prevent the loss of quantity and of quality. As with your business, a failure to plan, for unexpected good times or for bad outcomes, could destroy the entire year's revenue.

When you are planting your garden, think in terms of business planning as well.

Your company's financial well being, and your garden's bounty will be the better for it.

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Information sharing: Don't hoard your knowledge



Information and knowledge are meant to be shared with others. By helping people succeed and achieve their goals, we contribute to all of society in general, and to the individual in particular. By sharing what we know, everyone wins.

Of course, not everyone is inclined to provide a peek into their vast stores of information and know how. When I was young, it was very common for people to hoard every scrap and morsel of knowledge like pennies for a rainy day. Even how to ideas for crafts like quilting or tricks of the trade for home building projects were off limits to the uninitiated. If you didn't know it, no one was about to teach anything to you. As a result of that experience, I vowed to share information with others as often as possible.

Along with the desire to help others accomplish their goals and objectives, I always make certain to learn more information on almost every topic. I am constantly buying books on subjects either practical or arcane. I try to learn as much as possible. The mind is a muscle that demands workouts to expand and develop. A few books are barbells for the brain.

Along with learning information from books, both practical and theoretical, I have also retained most of the experiences I had from my employment and entrepreneurial careers. Whether good memories of prosperous moments, or nightmarish bad times, they are all useful information for the present and the future. You never know when the same situations will arise again. Avoiding a previous wrong decision makes the bad moments of the past well worth an honest review.



A post mortem of what went badly can go a long way toward making the correct decision the next time. Learn to recognize patterns in your current and previous businesses and careers. While history might not repeat exactly, the same general business issues arise again and again. There will always be cash flow shortages, the need to find new customers, problem clients, and a shifting economy and market place. Learning to recognize these similarities will ease the blow to your bottom line. The practice might even enhance your profitability.

As always, share what you have learned with others. Make certain that your experience and those of your staff are shared with everyone in your organization. Be certain, as well, to offer assistance and advice to the general business community. No, I'm not suggesting telling everyone your company balance sheet or latest business research data. What I am recommending is hlping others with general and specific suggestions for improving their marketing, public relations, research and development, production, distribution, customer service, and personnel decisions.



Offer to speak to community groups and business organizations. Accept one on one mentoring and consultations with other business people. Speak to students at schools about your industry and the importance of business and entrepreneurship to the community and to the economy. Interview with other bloggers and discuss ideas in blogging and business roundtable discussions. Make yourself available as a speaker in your areas of expertise. You are limited only by your imagination.

Sharing your wisdom with others will have a positive effect on your own business as well. People will want to hear your ideas or read them on your blog. Your respect as a knowledgeable source of ideas in the industry will rise exponentially, especially if the media regards you as a go to person as well. You will have the continued respect of those you help along the way.

Perhaps, most importantly, you will know as you look in the mirror that you are a person who helps others succeed. In the end, when we look back and can say that we helped others achieve their goals and improve the lives of themselves, their families, and those of their associates, we know our lives have made a difference.

Make a difference to someone's life today.

Share your knowledge and experience. Don't hoard information away like a miser.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

 

Sales mistakes to avoid: Jack Yoest speaks out



Business blogger Jack Yoest (photo to the left) of Yoest.org is guest blogging over at my good friend Anita Campbell's independent business industry leading blog and Forbes Favorite in Best of the Web in 2005 Small Business Trends.

Jack Yoest was in the market for a computer software solution. He listened to a web based conference call sales presentation by a company he identifies as "Brand X". Obviously, the company name was changed to protect the guilty. In this case, the guilt was that of committing several glaring and costly sales mistakes. Jack stopped counting the most blatant sale destroying errors at seven.

Be sure to read the original post for Jack's insightful, and tongue in cheek, discussion of each of the seven deadly sales presentation sins. They are definitely worth the click.

Here are the highlights:

I sat through a conference call/web based sales pitch by Brand X for creating a wiz-bang presentation to promote one of my companies. The presenters made a number of mistakes. I stopped counting at 7.

1) Start the presentation on time.

2) Never let ‘em see you sweat.

3) Don’t tell me how smart you are.

4) Never introduce yourself.

5) Never discuss religion or politics.

6) Never provide backup/proof unless the client is skeptical.

7) Do as I say; Not as I do.


Jack adds:

Bottom line: I didn’t buy. The Brand X manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $17,500. But! if you buy now! now! your investment! is onlyninethousanddollars….I had a low four figure budget and Brand X did not close the gap between my needs, my money and their software solution. Which was actually very good.


Be sure to read the guest post by Jack Yoest, and avoid committing the same sales losing mistakes described in the story. In fact, I would suggest writing them down and distributing them to your entire staff and every one of your business clients. You would be doing each recipient a huge favour.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

 

Unique Selling Proposition: USP for success



Business management is a topic that receives books and lecture circuits worth of discussion. Perhaps you have heard or read the latest fads in management, and possibly even put some of them into practice. The results were probably mixed at best.

We've all heard the experts, or even the self-annointed ones, tell us there is a certain way to run a business. Their points usually run in the direction of what worked for them should work for everyone. Unfortunately, it's not always that simple in real life.

Often, the expert was indeed highly successful with the recommended management system. Occasionally, they fudge the facts a bit to sell the program to the unwary. Sometimes, the only real money their businesses ever made was from the sale of their get rich quick schemes. Let's not go there.

Keep in mind that many management consulting firms have made an entire industry out of selling the same business plan to every client. You have to admire their ingenuity, and their sales and marketing ability for that one.



All businesses are similar in that they require good management, marketing, public relations, financing, cash flow, good accounting and record keeping, and so on. Businesses differ in the amount of expertise and capital available.

For example, it's all well and good for someone whose business has been in the family for several generations to give advice. It's quite another for your startup business to really benefit from it, except in a very general way.

You have to make your business your own. Your company should reflect you and your values, as well as those of your staff, and your customers. In other words, find what works for you, and stick with it. While you are sticking with what works, you should be searching for new and creative ways to solve the short and long term problems facing your business.



No set in stone plan is going to do that for you.

Your business is as individual as you are. That unique nature of your company is its greatest strength. Your unique selling proposition (often called a USP) should reflect what makes your organization one of a kind. Offer a USP that only you and your business can provide.

It might be the personal service, your written money back guarantee, or your offering of free information and services. Whatever your business advantage may be, it must be unique to your business alone. You have to let the potential customer know in an instant why your company is the only one that can meet her requirements.



As an exercise and take away, write down all of the things that make your business one of a kind. List everything that comes to mind. Don't edit it now. Just write the list and set it aside for a day or two. Leave that for another day when you can approach your ideas objectively. Take the best ideas and reduce them to one sentence that describes your business. You should be able to present your USP in less than thirty seconds. Anywhere. Anytime.

Once you discover how your business is unique, no one size fits no one solutions are required. You will have your one of a kind USP in hand; ready to take on the world. Write it on your business card. Place it on your blog or website. Let your USP sell your one of a kind business to the world.

Think differently from the pack, and you will lead it.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Carnival of the Vanities at Accidental Verbosity



The 191st edition of the longest running internet blog carnival, the well known Carnival of the Vanities appears at Jay and Deb Solo's business and eclectic blog known as Accidental Verbosity.

Carnival of the Vanities is the original collection of blog postings, assembling some of the best and wide ranging bloggers on the internet.



This week's Carnival of the Vanities entries include politics, literature, science, medicine, technology, business, and satire.








I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities as well.

My post is titled "Blogging as life changing experience" where I discuss how blogs can change your life. In fact, if you post to your blog for any prolonged period of time, the blog is almost certain to be the catalyst for some life altering experiences. It's the nature of the blog that's the cause of this success.



To participate in the Carnival of the Vanities, or any of the other blog carnivals, one of the easiest techniques is to use the all inclusive carnival entry form at The Conservative Cat.





Another participation option is to simply e-mail your entry to the new e-mail address:

cotvmail -at- gmail -dot- com

As I suggest elsewhere, hosting and contributing to the various internet blog carnivals is a great promotional idea for your blog.

Next week's edition of Carnival of the Vanities appears at Ellison's political, humor, and family blog known as Blog D'Ellison

In the meantime, head on over to the Accidental Verbosity hosting of Carnival of the Vanities and enjoy the posts on offer.

You will almost certainly be introduced to some great new and interesting blogs.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

 

Carnival of the Capitalists at The Virtual Handshake



This week sees a virtual approach to the travelling business show, recognized by one and all as Carnival of the Capitalists makes a visit to Scott Allen and David Teton's excellent business and author blog known as The Virtual Handshake.

Scott and David are also the authors of the ground breaking best selling business book that is also titled The Virtual Handshake.

This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists highlights some of the best bloggers writing on the internet today.

Blogging topics presented include entrepreneurship, management, market trading, internet commerce, marketing, the national and global economies, and technology.



As you would expect from The Virtual Handshake blog there are many discussions of business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and developing blog and virtual internet connections.

Buy your own copy of The Virtual Handshake book now.






It's always great to read and discover the many high quality blogs out there in the blogosphere.

We don't always get to them all, and this edition of Carnival of the Capitalists has introduced many of us to some brand new ones.



I have an entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists as well.

My post is titled "Business ideas: Bloggers as partners" where I discuss how after some time, and discussion, you are very likely to find a blogger who wishes to establish a startup company. Talk and meet with them and establish the business outline and possible plan. Bloggers are open and willing to talk about ideas. Before too long, a successful company will be born.

Thanks to host Scott Allen for making my post an Editor's Choice.

If you wish to submit an entry to next week's, or any Carnival of the Capitalists edition, e-mail your entries to the new address:

cotcmail -at- gmail -dot- com

You can always use the handy entry form at Gongol.com where all you have to do is fill in the blanks. Talk about making it easy to be included!

Another brand new form for sending entries to all of the internet carnvivals is provided by The Conservative Cat. This is a great one stop entry drop, for all your blog post entries, for every blog carnival.

Note as well that Carnival of the Capitalists. has a new URL at http://thecotc.com/. Be sure to update your links and bookmarks.



If you are searching for new and exciting ways to expand your blog's readership, you should seriously consider sending an entry to Carnival of the Capitalists.

Merely being included in the company, of the first rate regular Carnival of the Capitalists contributors, will enhance the reputation of your blog.

The extra visitors sent to your blog won't hurt either!

The growth and staying power, of Carnival of the Capitalists, is beginning to catch the attention of people outside the blogging community. Each hosting, brings a fresh assortment of new readers, to the various blogs involved.

The visitors aren't only bloggers anymore.

Readership is expanding to include the mainstream media, various government and private organizations, many businesses, and other interested people from beyond the blogging community.

Many people are introduced to some tremendous blogs that they might otherwise have missed.

Next week's Carnival of the Capitalists will be at Will Crawford's technology, economics, and business blog known as The Integrative Stream.

In the meantime, click that mouse over to the The Virtual Handshake hosting of Carnival of the Capitalists.

If the great posted entries don't convince you to click, or the possibility of finding some brand new blogs to read doesn't do it, then Carnival of the Capitalists certainly will offer some ideas to get into a virual connection making and handshake mood. (groan)

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Diva Marketing Blog introduces Blogger Stories



My good friend Toby Bloomberg (shown in photo left) of the wonderful Diva Marketing Blog is a constant source of new and innovative ideas for blogs in business and professions; and in your personal life.

As a leading blog consultant, Toby is always searching for exciting new and creative uses for blogs in general, and business blogs in particular. Her latest blogging communications concept is called Blogger Stories.

The principle behind Blogger Stories is letting bloggers tell of their own blog journey in their own words. For many people, both in business and in other walks of life, blogging has indeed been a life and world changing experience. Toby Bloomberg wants bloggers to share those voyages of blogging discovery with others.

Toby describes the blog's mission this way:

Welcome to Blogger Stories - a slightly different kind of blog. For me the heart of the blogosphere is two-fold. It is the people behind millions of posts created every day. It is also the people who read those posts.

Along the way of writing and reading blogs something interesting often happens. Lives are touched. Sometimes lives are changed. The influence of blogs can be major .. a new career, a support system, a friendship. Or minor .. an idea, a giggle, a recipe.




The first entry into the Blogger Stories arena is by leading blogger and author Shel Israel (pictured left) of Naked Conversations.








Shel Israel's Blogger Story begins:

Blogger Story Teller: Shel Israel, Naked Conversations

When people ask me how Robert Scoble and I came together to collaborate on Naked Conversations my short answer is that I was desperate. They’re sure I’m joking, but I’m not.

I had been a journalist and loved everything about it, except the vow of poverty it required. I figured I’d just do PR for a few years until I could buy a new car and live in an apartment that had a spare bedroom.

I had been a journalist and loved everything about it, except the vow of poverty it required. I figured I’d just do PR for a few years until I could buy a new car and live in an apartment that had a spare bedroom.

Years went by. In the 70s, the sidebars sideburns cultivated in my college days receded. In the 80s much of the rest of the hair followed. I kept vowing I’d get back but I was good at PR. I was good for a few reasons, but I think the main part was that I thought like a reporter. I thought in stories. I saw the editors as my customers. The clients they were the just manufacturers who had a byproduct of news. I simply never considered lying to or misleading an editor. My reputation was what I had. Clients came and went but the editors were the constants.


Continue reading Shel's story here.

To become involved with Blogger Stories and to send your story, Toby tells us how:

So ... what's your story? Drop me an email at [bloggerstories at yahoo dot com] with:

blog and url (if appropriate)
your name (first is okay)
if your story is personal or business related
your bloggy story please limit to 500 words or less


Get those keyboards clicking and write your own blogger story today.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

 

Mother's Day: Dionne Quintuplet Spoons for Mom



Happy Mother's Day to all of the bloggers and their Moms on this important day. I hope you have shared some time with your mother, and if she is no longer with you, then share in the joy of her memory.

I got my Mom a Mother's Day gift.

I was at an auction sale, as I so often do on weekends, and I made a special purchase with Mom in mind.

I was able to purchase a very fine set of the five Dionne Quintuplet collector spoons (pictured at the top of the post), dating back to the 1930s. Mom was always interested in the quints, as she was born about the same time as those famous five girls.



From Wikipedia:

The Dionne Quintuplets (born on May 28, 1934) are the first quintuplets known to survive their infancy. They were born two months prematurely with the assistance of Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe and two wet nurses. The chances of having identical quintuplets are one in 57 million, so this was unimaginable.

The five identical sisters are:

* Annette
* Cecile
* Emilie (died August 6, 1954 of an epileptic seizure)
* Marie (died February 27, 1970 of a blood clot in the brain)
* Yvonne (died June 23, 2001 of cancer)

Their birthplace in Ontario, Canada is the subject of some dispute, as the Dionne farmhouse was in a rural area between two towns. However, their birth was registered in nearby Corbeil in northern Ontario, which parents Elzire and Oliva Dionne considered home. Because the somewhat larger town of Callander reaped most of the commercial benefit, some sources say they were born there. Language politics complicate the issue; Callander is an English town, but Corbeil, like the Dionnes, was largely Franco-Ontarian. Perhaps to resolve the issue, the Dionne Quintuplets Museum is currently located in the nearest city, North Bay.




The story of the Dionne Quints was not always a happy one, and was marred by tragedy and heartbreak from the very beginning:


The custody of the babies was withdrawn from their parents by the Ontario government of Mitchell Hepburn in 1935. The girls were made the wards of the province and they were put under the guidance of Dr. Dafoe and three other guardians. Ontario housed them in Quintland, a theme park located just across from the parents' home. The sisters could be viewed by visitors through a one-way mirror. Approximately 6,000 people per day visited the park to observe them. In 1934, the quintuplets brought in around $1 million, and they attracted in total about $51 million of tourist revenue to Ontario. The park became Ontario's biggest tourist attraction of the era.

The girls were also used to publicize commercial products such as corn syrup and Quaker Oats and starred in some Hollywood films:

* The Country Doctor (1936)
* Reunion (1936)
* Five of a Kind (1938)
* Quintupland (1938)

The quintuplets also performed various stage acts for audiences. In particular, their performance of "There Will Always be an England" continues to irritate some French-Canadians. After a nine-year court fight between the government and their father, the quintuplets were returned to their family in 1943. Dr. Dafoe died shortly thereafter.

In 1965, they published a book called We Were Five. This account, along with a biography by Pierre Berton, informed a TV movie about them, Million Dollar Babies (1994), produced by CBS and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and starring Roy Dupuis and Céline Bonnier. The next year, the surviving girls alleged they were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of their father, and that the Roman Catholic Church urged them to cope by wearing thick coats. In 1998, the Ontarian government gave the Dionnes a settlement of $4 million CDN.


Now to the present day.

The auction photo doesn't do the spoons justice, as they are much nicer live, than in the picture. They were a sale feature, and due to a surprising lack of interest, I was able to buy them for a very reasonable price.

Mom just loves the spoons. They are a gift from a far off time, from a story of five young girls, whose lives were mixed with joy, tragedy, and sorrow. Their lives are an object lesson in heartbreak, exploitation, greed, and terrible family problems. Let the Dionne Quints show you the value of love and sharing, and the happiness they never found.

Show your love to your Mother, and to everyone else in your family, and circle of loved ones. That's what Mother's Day is all about.

Enjoy your Mother on her special day, and share in her happiness and her many blessings.

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