Mobile Screens are now the passion of the American Majority [Infographic]

Mobile Screens are now the passion of the American Majority [Infographic]

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Christopher Kogge

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In the 1950’s America’s mobile move was all about connecting the country through Interstate Highways. In the 20-teens, mobile has taken on a whole new meaning with the rise of smartphones. As of 2015, more time is spent looking at smartphone and tablet screens than computer and televisions ones.

This swing is nothing surprising as the trends have been drifting in mobile’s favor for the last five years, which in tech years is more like 20. In other words, it has been a long time coming. What will come to a surprise to some is the opportunity that is currently open for advertisers. As illustrated in the infographic below, the amount of advertising dollars spent on mobile ads is disproportionate to the audience size with a 25 Billion difference.

 

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These findings should be setting off bells and whistles to the leaders of small businesses and startups alike. The lack of advertising spending pumped into the mobile space means lower rates, which means more exposure for less money. If you have not allocated a hefty amount of your ad budget to mobile already, I would suggest doing it now as this opportunity will surely be in existence for but a small moment in time.

The last tip I will leave you with is this, SmartTvs look to be emerging as next screen people will be using more and more in the next 5 to 10 years. If your company isn’t a unicorn and is currently on the shoestring budget, I would keep an eye on the popularity of SmartTvs and look to advertise when they have an upswing of popularity.

 

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10 Quotes to Inspire Dreamers

10 Quotes to Inspire Dreamers
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Being a professional in any field these days can be stressful. It is easy to be swallowed up by other people’s negativity, which is why I find it necessary, as cheesy as it may be, to keep motivated. I love reading inspirational quotes by unique people, who have accomplished great things in their lives. Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to make it in the world on your first or 30th business or if you are a business professional working in the corporate world, it is critical to stay positive to move forward. Here are some of my favorite quotes and what they mean to me.

Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. – William Faulkner.

William Faulkner was an American writer and Nobel Prize winner. I like this quote because it means that you have to keep trying to be better. I will never be content with where I am. I will always try to be a better version of myself, this is how I will continuously grow.

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. This quote is vital to the entrepreneur as it tells you to be imaginative. It is similar to the quote above in that it tells you not to be content in who you are.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

Mark Twain was an American author and humorist. Twain challenges you to question your motives and understand why you make the decisions that you do. Do not blindly follow the crowd. Make sure your choices are right for you.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most never happened. – Mark Twain

Another quote by the great Mark Twain. Many of us live in constant fear of minuscule things. To me, I always felt like the first step was the hardest. You question yourself at every corner. What if this happens, this won’t let it happen, etc. Don’t let your fears stop you from becoming the person your potential will allow you to be.

What we fear is usually what we most need to do. – Timothy Ferriss

Tim Ferris is an American author, entrepreneur, angel investor and public speaker. Here is another quote about fear. Procrastination is a killer. The sooner you get your work done I promise you that you will feel better. Pushing something off will put weight on your shoulder that you do not need.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln as 99% of you know is the 16th president of the United States of America. You only have one life so don’t let your fears hold you back. If you want to do something, do it. If you want to start a business, try it. If you want to talk to that girl/guy, go for it. I ask myself one very dramatic question when I am making big (or even small and scary) decisions. Will I regret this on my deathbed? If the answer is yes, I am going to do it.

There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing. – Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist. I love this. If you are afraid of what everyone else thinks of you, you will get nothing done. The innovators of this world did things that others thought was impossible. They won’t understand you and they will discourage you. Don’t let them get to you. Block out the haters.

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. – T. E. Lawrence

Thomas Edward Lawrence was a British archaeologist, military officer, and diplomat. Everyone dreams but entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality.

I have promises to keep and many miles to go before I sleep. – Robert Frost

Robert Frost was an American poet. This quote is important for an entrepreneur, but also those in managerial roles. Promises are important. When you start a business people working for/with you are relying on you. I know that is a scary thought, but being in a leadership role means that you need to be responsible. Remember, a man/woman is only as good as his/her word.

Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. – George Carlin

George Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, and author. I wanted to end this off on a lighter note. I know this is hard, and sometimes even I cannot resist, but try not to argue with a tool. There are times you can win someone over and there are times you cannot change the mind of someone stubborn. Pick your battles and refrain from stooping low.

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10 Traits To Be A Great Leader

10 Traits To Be A Great Leader
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During my time in the industry, I have been introduced to amazing leaders and dreadful poseurs. I have gained many mentors and advisors over the years, and I have compiled the following traits that make some an actual leader.

1. Positive Reinforcement: Not Negative punishment

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I have gained the understanding that you will get the best out of people when you reward them for success rather than punish them for their failures. Those who you punish will start to despise you. One thing that I know for sure is that negativity is an infection that spreads and destroys a corporate culture, especially for new companies & startups. There is no room for negativity when you are trying something new. Lead by rewarding and you will be giving people the motivation to do better.

2. Lead By Example: Don’t Be A Hypocrite

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Everyone hates a hypocrite. If you want people around you to act in a particular manner, you need to lead by example. Some would call this the “tone at the top.” Be what you want others around you to be. People will respect that you practice what you preach and will be more likely to follow suit. Don’t go around smoking in people’s faces, while condemning others for doing the same. You will lose respect and people will realize that if your policies aren’t relevant enough for you to follow than it doesn’t matter for them to follow.

3. Be A Leader, NOT A Boss: Command Respect, Don’t Demand It

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People who say or act as if you MUST respect them solely because they are older or in a higher position are wrong. This will, in fact, result in the loss of respect. If you have to go around telling people you are a King, then you probably aren’t one. Now I am not saying that you should disrespect the higher ups, so don’t go around dismissing everyone. Most of you will be able to think of a person in your lives who tries to be a BOSS and not a LEADER. My favorite example of a leader was when I consistently pulled over 100 hours a week at my first job, and my senior manager sat there working with us, it increased my respect for her and made me believe that we were all in it together.

4. Communication Is Key

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It is often not what you say that makes the difference; it is how you say it that changes everything. Words can be sharper than a sword. They can bring tears of happiness or sorrow to one’s face. They can make or break a deal. For those who do think they need help with this, read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. After you finish reading this book, read Leil Lowndes book, How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships. The first will give you the big picture while the latter will tell you exactly how to do it.

5. Confidence in Decisions: You Have To Mean It!

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If you are pushing a topic that is important, make sure that you have convinced yourself first. If you don’t believe what you are saying, no one else will. Two people can tell you to invest in an ideal opportunity for example, but you will always feel more comfortable with the individual who is sure of themselves. Lastly, after you have made a decision, stand by it. People will hold it against you if you flip flop without a good reason.

6. Own Up To Your Mistakes

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Having confidence in your decisions is one thing, but it takes a real leader to admit when they are wrong. It is better to point the thumb at yourself than to point the finger at someone else. Throwing people under the bus when you made a mistake will only create animosity. Owning up to your mistakes will create respect.

7. Discipline in Private

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If you ever have to have a serious conversation with someone or have a disagreement, talk in private, whether it is business partners or even those working underneath you. If you yell at someone in front of others, you will look like a jerk, embarrass the other person (create animosity) and no one wins. Have an adult conversation in private. The person in question will respect you more for it, and you will have a higher chance to make a difference. Exception: On very rare occasions when you need to make an example of someone.

8. Do Your Research: Know the Facts

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Don’t be a know it all, unless you actually know it all. One of my personal favorites is when people run their mouths about a topic they know nothing about. Have you ever heard the line in the movie American Gangster, “the loudest one in the room is the weakest in the room?” Make sure that you have the facts and do your research. It will make you and the people you’re representing, look weak if you’re ignorant about the argument you’re making. It is better to stay quiet if you do not know a topic than to pretend like you do and make a fool of yourself.

9. Don’t Complain Unless You Have A Solution

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You are wasting everyone’s time if you complain about things and don’t propose a solution. You will only be adding to the problem. I have been to so many meetings where I have seen people complain about issues without finalizing the discussion with a solution. These actions are useless, and nothing will change.

10. Keep An Open Mind: Hear Everyone Out

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You are not always right contrary to what you may or may not believe. Open your mind to criticism and do not shut people out. Sometimes you employees can give you another perspective that you may not have considered that can change everything. Put your pride aside and sometimes allow others to have a say. It will give them the importance, and you may learn something.

 

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Angel Investors [Infographic]

Angel Investors [Infographic]
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In our startup dictionary post ,one of the terms listed is an Angel Investor. In case you missed that post here is the definition.

Angel Investor – An angel investor is an individual who provides financial capital to startups and entrepreneurs, usually in exchange for convertible debt or equity. These investors are often among the business owner’s family and friends.

In this infographic, we look at some stats that illustrate what type of startups are getting funding from these angels and how much these companies are receiving.

AngelInvestors

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The Mythical Unicorn

The Mythical Unicorn
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“Unicorns” in the startup universe refers to those companies which hold value in the billions. The top Unicorns are currently Uber ($51B), Xiaomi ($46B), Airbnb ($25.5B) and Palantir Technologies ($20B). If you have been paying attention to the startup world, you would have noticed fear of a Startup Bubble. The idea is that these Unicorns, with their valuations in the billions, are unprofitable. Some of which barely generate revenue at all. This approach resulted in the devaluation of some startups. Flipkart saw its value drop from $15B to $11B, Dropbox went from $10B to $4.9B, Snapchat from $16B to $12B, etc. So where does this leave us? Are these valuation made up?

Maybe some, but not for all.

Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Palantir generate significant amounts of revenue. They are likely to be close to their current valuations. Then if you add their assets to the equation, it makes it even more realistic. Palantir has been purchasing significant amounts of property on the West Coast. As well as generating close to $1B a year.

Other companies I would be cautious about include, Snapchat, and Dropbox. Maybe devaluing those companies wasn’t such a bad idea. These companies generate less revenue than their unicorn counterparts. What is the market price of information these days?

What do you think? Is this bubble going to burst? 2000px-Visible_Green_Unicorn.svg

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/04/27/technology-investors-worth-following.aspx

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The Wild Startup [Infographic]

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Christopher Kogge

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The Wild Startup is not always a shy animal, they actually can be quite bold. To better understand the nature of these strange creatures we take a look at their short-lived lives in their natural habitat.

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Top 5 Startups of 2015

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Fostering Business Solutions, Inc.

By Harveer Singh

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Originally posted January 7, 2016 

Seeing as the year has just come to an end, I decided that it would be appropriate to display my favorite startups of 2015 (in no particular order). These companies are unique and are innovators in their respective industries. They all have immense growth potential.

What do they do?

Palantir is a Silicon Valley startup that services government agencies, such as the CIA and FBI, and businesses through accessible data analysis and specialized solutions ranging from fraud issues to national defense.

 

Valuation

Palantir raised over $880 million this year at a $20 billion valuation, making it one of the most valuable privately held tech companies in the world. Since inception, the company has raised $2.32 billion.

Why did I choose them?
  • Palantir is now the fourth highest-valued startup in the world after leading contenders Xiaomi, Uber and Airbnb.
  • They are backed by various government agencies and still have growth potential.
  • In 2015, Palantir’s valuation increased from a $15 billion valuation to $20 billion.
  • They are expected to IPO in 2016, because their revenues may exceed $1 billion (at which point you are forced to IPO).

What do they do?
SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.  Elon Musk founded the company in 2002 with the goal of revolutionizing space technology to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of other planets. I know… It sounds like something from a Sci-Fi film.

 

Valuation
In January of this year (2015) SpaceX raised $1B in funding from Google and Fidelity in exchange for 8.33% ownership stake, establishing the company valuation at approximately $12B.

 

Why did I choose them?

  • SpaceX is the first and only company to achieve a vertical landing of a rocket that had traveled into outer space (this past month).
  • They are revolutionizing space travel & exploration initiatives.
  • This company is so unique that to me it is a winner.

What do they do?

Fatsack Outdoors Inc. is committed to keeping the age-old, outdoor traditions alive by leveraging the latest in technology to provide consumers with an enhanced and simplified sporting experience for not only the casual weekender but for the professional as well.

 

Valuation

Fatsack Outdoors is the smallest of the companies listed by far. The company went from nothing to being valued at roughly $2.6MM in one year (Started from the bottom, now were here? Not yet, but soon). Fatsack Outdoors recently opened their second round of funding to raise $500K at the above valuation.

 

Why did I choose them?

  • The company has immense growth potential proven by the partnerships they have created this year alone.
  • Leaders in the fishing and outdoor industries have showed great interest in the company since they first launched their app (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play) in February.
  • They have a strong Board of Directors (with an ex-executive of Verizon – Jack Plating and myself of course) as well as a highly focused CEO, Nick Rubio (also Chairman of the Board).
  • They have raised roughly $400K in their first year when they required less.

What do they do?

Lyft Inc. helps commuters get to their location via share rides with friends, classmates, and coworkers going the same direction or non-shared rides. All of this is possible by requesting a Lyft through their mobile application and all you have to do is sit back and wait. The company was founded in 2007 and is based in San Francisco, California. Lyft Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Its main competitor is Uber.

 

Valuation

As of January 2016 the company has a $5.5 Billion valuation due to a $1 billion investment from GM. Lyft raised more than $2B in seven equity funding rounds since 2010. The company’s valuation surged 2.5x from $1B in series B to $2.5B in series C, reflecting an 8.3 P/S ratio for Lyft (prior to the recent GM investment). Lyft also a $250 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, as well as the $1 billion from GM.

 

Why did I choose them?

  • In 2015, Lyft became the first ride-sharing company to offer trips to travelers at McCarran Int’l Airport in Las Vegas (As of Dec. 17th, Uber can also do this).
  • Between March and December of 2015, Lyft secured $927.7M in funding.
  • GM just invested $1 billion in the company, increasing its valuation.
  • Although I believe both Uber and Lyft are good investments, Lyft seems to have more upward potential, creating a bigger buffer when it comes to IPO time.

What do they do?
Birchbox offers online beauty products and retailing services.  The company provides makeup, shaving, hair, skincare, and fragrance products.  Additionally, it offers tools, gadgets and games, and lifestyle accessories. Birchbox, Inc. was founded in 2010 and is based in New York, NY. They are arguably the reason subscription boxes have become so popular.

 

Valuation

In April of 2014, the company raised 60MM at a $485MM valuation. They are expected to open a Series C round of funding at an estimated valuation of $750MM.

 

Why did I choose them?

  • In October of 2015, Birchbox launched its first in-house makeup brand, LOC (Love of Color).
  • They basically pioneered the subscription box services that everyone seems to be using now.
  • They are continuing to grow as per their next expected round of financing.

 

 

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